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Professor E.S, Moore 



THE 



ATLANTIC MONTHLY 



A MAGAZINE OF 



LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS. 



VOLUME 




BOSTON: 

PHILLIPS, SAMPSON, AND COMPANY, 

13 WINTER STREET. 



LONDON: TRUBNER AND COMPANY. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 185 ( 9, by 

PHILLIPS, SAMPSON, AND COMPANY, 
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



AP 



AS 
v,2> 



PRESS OF 

8. CHISM, -FRANKLIN PRINTING HOtlgr, 
HAWLIT ST., COB. FBAKKUS. 



CONTENTS. 



Agrarianism, 393 

Bulls and Bears, 70, 189, 303, 403, 585, 

710. 
Bundle of Old Letters, A, 550. 

Calculus, The Differential and Integral, 704. 
Charge with Prince Rupert, A, 725. 
Charles Lamb and Sydney Smith, 290. 
Coffee and Tea, 35. 

Did I ? 213. 

El Llanero, 174. 

Gymnasium, The, 529. 

Holbein and the Dance of Death, 265. 

Illustrious Obscure, The, 63. 
In a Cellar, 151. 
In the Pines, 560. 

Juanita, 16. 

Letter to a Dyspeptic, A, 465. 
Lizzy Griswold's Thanksgiving, 282. 

Men of the Sea, 44. 
Mien-yaun, 671. 

Minister's Wooing, The, 97, 219, 375, 504, 620, 
749. 

New Life of Dante, The, 62, 202, 330. 

Odds and Ends from the Old World, 423. 

Olympus and Asgard, 1. 

Ought Women to Learn the Alphabet? 137. 

Palfrey's and Arnold's Histories, 441. 
Plea for the Fijians, A, 342. 
Professor at the Breakfast-Table, The, 85, 232, 
850, 492, 609, 760. 

Roba di Roma, 454. 

Shakspeare's Art, 657. 
Smollett, Some Inedited Memorials of, 693. 
, Stereoscope and Stereograph, The, 738. 

Trip to Cuba, A, 601, 686. 
Two Sniffs, 429. 



Utah Expedition, The, 361, 474, 570. 

White's Shakspeare, 111, 241. 

Why did the Governess Faint ?V 543. 

Whiter Birds, The, 319. 



POETRY. 

Achmed and his Mare, 289. 
At Sea, 69. 

Bloodroot, 703. 
Chicadee, 52. 

Double-Headed Snake of Newbury, The, 339. 
Drifting, 452. 

Hamlet at the Boston, 172. 
Inscription for an Alms-Chest, 600. 
Joy-Month, 685. 

Last Bird, The, 569. 
Left Behind, 33. 

Morning Street, The, 150. 
Our Skater Belle, 491. 

Palm and the Pine, The, 230. 
Philter, The, 212. 
Prayer for Life, 419. 

Sphinx, The, 724. 
Spring, 737. 

Two Years After, 548. 

Walker of the Snow, The, 631. 
Waterfall, The, 318. 

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES. 

Allibone's Dictionary of Authors, 775. 
Arabian Days' Entertainments, 133. 
Avenger, The, 773. 

Bacon, The Works of, 614. 



IV 



Contents. 



Bitter-Sweet, 651. 

Bryant, Durand's Portrait of, 653. 

Buusen's Gott in der Geschichte, 525. 

Colton's Illustrated Cabinet Atlas, 772. 
Courtship of Miles Standish, 129. 

Dexter's Street Thoughts, 646. 
Duyckinck's Life of George Herbert, 773. 

Emerson, Rowse's Portrait of, 653. 
Ernest Carroll, 136. 

Furness's Thoughts on the Life and Charac- 
ter of Jesus, 131. 

Hamilton's Lectures on Metaphysics, 774. 
Hymns of the Ages, 136. 

Index to Catalogue of Boston City Library, 

777. 

Lytton, R. B., (Owen Meredith,) Poems by, 

772. 



Mathematical Monthly, The, 647. 
Morgan's, Lady, Autobiography, 650. 
Mothers and Infants, Nurses and Nursing, 645. 
Mustee, The, 652. 

Prescott's Philip II., 122. 

Sawyer's New Testament, 386. 

Sedd"on, Thomas, Memoir and Letters of, 648. 

Sixty Years' Gleanings from Life's Harvest, 

770. 

Stratford Gallery, The, 135. 
Symbols of the 'Capital, 773. 

Triibner's Bibliographical Guide to Ameri- 
can Literature, 777. 

Vernon Grove, 133. 

Whittier, Barry's Portrait of, 653. 
Wilson's Conquest of Mexico, 518, 633. 

LIST OF BOOKS, 260, 391, 527, 655, 779. 






THE 



ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 



A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS. 



VOL. m. JANUARY, 1859. NO. XV. 



OLYMPUS AND ASGARD. 



How remote from the nineteenth cen- 
tury of the Christian era lies the old 
Homeric world ! By the magic of the 
Ionian minstrel's verse that world is still 
visible to the inner eye. Through the 
clouds and murk of twenty centuries and 
more, it is still possible to catch clear 
glimpses of it, as it lies there in the gold- 
en sunshine of the ancient days. A 
thousand objects nearer in the waste of 
past time are far more muffled, opaque, 
and impervious to vision. As you enter 
it through the gates of the " Ilias " and 
''Odusscia," you bid a glad adieu to the 
progress of the age, to railroads and tele- 
graph-wires, to cotton-spinning, (there 
might have been some of that done, how- 
ever, in some Nilotic Manchester or 
Lowell,) to the diffusion of knowledge 
and the rights of man and societies for 
the improvement of our race, to human- 
itarianism and philanthropy, to science 
and mechanics, to the printing-press and 
gunpowder, to industrialism, clipper-ships, 
power-looms, metaphysics, geology, obser- 
vatories, light-houses, and a myriad other 
tilings too numerous for specification, 
and you pass into a sunny region of 
glorious sensualism, where there are no 
obstinate Questionings of outward things, 
where there are no blank misgivings of a 
VOL. in. 1 



creature moving about in worlds not re- 
alized, no morbid self-accusings of a mor- 
bid methodistic conscience. All there in 
that old world, lit " by the strong vertical 
light" of Homer's genius, is healthful, 
sharply-defined, tangible, definite, and 
sensualistic. Even the divine powers, 
the gods themselves, are almost visible 
to the eyes of their worshippers, as they 
revel in their mountain-propped halls on 
the far summits of many-peaked Olym- 
pus, or lean voluptuously from their ce- 
lestial balconies and belvederes, soothed 
by the Apollonian lyre, the Heban nec- 
tar, and the fragrant incense, which reeks 
up in purple clouds from the shrines of 
windy Ih'on, hollow Lacedaemon, Argos, 
Mycense, Athens, and the cities of the 
old Greek isles, with their shrine-capped 
headlands. The outlooks and watch- 
towers of the chief deities .were all visi- 
ble from the far streets and dwellings of 
thefr earthly worshippers, in that clear, 
shining, Grecian atmosphere. Uranog- 
raphy was then far better understood 
than geography, and the personages com- 
posing the heavenly synod were almost 
as definitely known to the Homeric men 
as their mortal acquaintances. The ar- 
chitect of the Olympian palaces was sur- 
named Amphigueeis, or the Halt. The 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January, 



Homeric gods were "men divinized with 
imperishable frames, glorious and immor- 
tal sensualists, never visited by qualms 
of conscience, by headache, or remorse, 
or debility, or wrinkles, or dyspepsia, 
however deep their potations, however 
fiercely they indulged their appetites. 
Zeus, the Grand Seignior or Sultan of 
Olympus and father of gods and men, 
surpassed Turk and Mormon Elder in 
his uxoriousness and indiscriminate con- 
cubinage. With Olympian goddess and 
lone terrestrial nymph and deep-bosomed 
mortal lass of Hellas, the land of lovely 
women, as Homer calls it, did he pursue 
his countless intrigues, which he some- 
times had the unblushing coolness and 
impudence to rehearse to his wedded 
wife, Here. His list would have thrown 
Don Giovanni's entirely into the shade. 
Here, the queen of Olympus, called the 
Golden-Throned, the Venerable, the Ox- 
Eyed, was a sort of celestial Queen Bess, 
the undaunted she-Tudor, whose father, 
bluff Harry, was not a bad human copy 
of Zeus himself, the Rejoicer in Thunder. 
In that old Homeric heaven, in those 
quiet seats of the gods of the heroic 
world, which were never shaken by 
storm-wind, nor lashed by the wintry 
tempest that raved far below round the 
dwellings of wretched mortals, in those 
quiet abodes above the thunder, there 
was for the most part nought but festal 
joy, music, choral dances, and empty- 
ing of nectar-cups, interrupted now and 
then by descents into the low-lying re- 
gion of human life in quest of adventure, 
or on errands of divine intervention in 
the affairs of men, for whom, on the 
whole, Zeus and his court entertained 
sentiments of profound contempt. Once 
in a while Zeus and all his courtiers went 
on a festal excursion to the land of the 
blameless Ethiops, which lay somewhere 
over the ocean, where they banqueted 
twelve days. Why such a special honor 
as this was shown to these Ethiops is not 
explained. Within their borders were 
evidently the summer resorts, Newport 
and Baden-Baden, frequented by the 
Olympians. Only in great crises was the 



whole mythic host of the Grecian religion 
summoned to meet in full forum on the 
heights of the immemorial mountain. At 
such times, all the fountains, rivers, and 
groves of Hellas were emptied of their 
guardian daemons, male and female, who 
hastened to pay their homage to and re- 
ceive their orders from the Cloud-Gather- 
er, sitting on his throne, in his great skyey 
Capitolium, and invested with all the 
pomp of mythic majesty, his ambrosial 
locks smoothly combed and brushed by 
some Olympian friseur, his eagle perched 
with ruffled plumes upon his fist, and ev- 
erything else so arranged as most forcibly 
to impress the country visitors and ru- 
ral incumbents with salutary awe for the 
occupant of their sky-Vatican. Wheth- 
er these last were compelled to salute the 
Jovine great toe with a kiss is not record- 
ed, there being no account extant of the 
ceremonial and etiquette of Olympus. 
Whatever it was, doubtless it was rigidly 
enforced ; for the Thunderer, it would 
seem, had a Bastile, or lock-up, with iron 
doors and a brazen threshold specially 
provided for contumacious and disobe- 
dient gods. 

Zeus, although he could claim supreme 
dominion under the law of primogeniture, 
was originally only a coequal ruler with 
his two brothers, Hades, king of the un- 
derworld, and EnnosigEeus, monarch of 
the salt sea-foam. They were alike the 
sons and coequal heirs of Kronos, or 
Time, and the Moerae, or Destinies, had 
parcelled out the universe in three equal 
parts between them. But the position of 
Zeus in his serene air-realm gave him the 
advantage over his two brothers, as the 
metropolitan situation of the Roman see 
in the capital of the world gave its dio- 
cesan, who was originally nothing more 
than the peer of the Bishops of Antioch, 
Alexandria, Carthage, and Constantino- 
ple, an opportunity finally to assert and 
maintain a spiritual lordship. This is a 
case exactly in point It is certainly prop- 
er to illustrate a theocratic usurpation by 
an hierarchic one. Zeus, with his eagle and 
thunder and that earthquaking nod, was 
too strong for him of the trident and him 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



of the three-headed hound. The whole 
mythic host regarded Jove's court as a 
place of final resort, of ultimate appeal. 
He was recognized as the Supreme Fath- 
er, Papa, or Pope, of the Greek mythic 
realm. The nod of his immortal head 
was decisive. His azure eyebrows and 
ambrosial hair were full of fate. 

The wars of mortals in Hellas and Dar- 
danland were matters of more interest to 
the Olympian celestials than any other 
mere human transactions. These occa- 
sioned partisanships, heartburnings, and 
factions in the otherwise serene Olympian 
palaces. Even Father Zeus himself ac- 
knowledged a bias for sacred Ilium and 
its king and people over all the cities of 
terrestrial men beneath the sun and starry 
heaven. In the ten-years' war at Troy, 
the Olympians were active partisans upon 
both sides at times, now screening their 
favorites from danger, and now even pit- 
ting themselves against combatants of 
more vulnerable flesh and blood. But in 
the matter of vulnerability they seem not 
to have enjoyed complete exemption, any 
more than did Milton's angels. Although 
they ate not bread nor drank wine, still 
there was in their veins a kind of am- 
brosial blood called ichor, which the prick 
of a javelin or spear would cause to flow 
freely. Even Ares, the genius of homi- 
cide and slaughter, was on one occasion 
at least wounded by a mortal antagonist, 
and sent out of the melee badly punished, 
so that he bellowed like a bull-calf, as he 
mounted on a dusty whirlwind to Olym- 
pus. Over his misadventures while play- 
ing liis own favorite game certainly there 
were no tears to be shed ; but when, 
prompted by motherly tenderness, Aphro- 
dite, the soft power of love, she of the 
Papliian boudoir, whose recesses were 
glowing with the breath of Sabaean frank- 
incense fumed by a hundred altars, she 
at whose approach the winds became 
hushed, and the clouds fled, and the dae- 
dal earth poured forth sweet flowers, 
when such a presence manifested herself 
on the field of human strife on an errand 
of motherly affection, and attempted to 
screen her bleeding son from the shafts 



of his foes with a fold of her shining pep- 
/um, surely the audacious Grecian king 
should have forborne, and, lowering his 
lance, should have turned his wrath else- 
where. But no, he pierced her skin 
with his spear, so that, shrieking, she 
abandoned her child, and was driven, 
bleeding, to her immortal homestead. 
The rash earth-born warrior knew not 
that he who put his lance in rest against 
the immortals had but a short lease of 
life to live, and that his bairns would 
never run to lisp their sire's return, nor 
climb his knees the envied kiss to share. 

Homer, in the first books of his " Ili- 
as," permits us to glance into the ban- 
queting-hall of Olympus. The two reg- 
ular pourers of nectar, v to wit, Hebe and 
Ganymede, are off duty. Hephaestus the 
Cripple has taken their place ; and as he 
halts about from guest to guest, inextin- 
guishable laughter arises among the gods 
at his awkward method of " passing the 
rosy." His lameness was owing to that 
sunset fall on the isle of Lemnos from 
the threshold of heaven. So, all day 
long, says the poet, they revelled, Apol- 
lo and the Muses performing the part 
of a ballet-troop. It is pleasing to learn 
that the Olympians kept early hours, 
conforming, in this respect, to the rule 
of Poor Richard. Duly at set of sun 
they betook themselves to their couch- 
es. Zeus himself slept, and by his side 
Here of the Golden Throne. 

Who would wish to have lived a pagan 
under that old Olympian dispensation, 
even though, like the dark -eyed Greek of 
the Atreidean age, his fancy could have 
" fetched from the blazing chariot of the 
Sun a beardless youth who touched a 
golden lyre and filled the illumined groves 
with ravishment " ? even though, like 
him, he might in myrtle-grove and lone- 
ly mountain-glen have had favors grant- 
ed him even by Idalian Aphrodite the 
Beautiful, and felt her wann breath glow- 
ing upon his forehead, or been coun- 
selled by the blue-eyed Athene, or been 
elevated to ample rule by Here herself, 
Heaven's queen ? That Greek heaven 
was heartless, libidinous, and cold. It 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January, 



had no inild divinities appointed to bind 
up the broken heart and assuage the grief 
of the mourner. The weary and the 
heavy-laden had no celestial resource 
amongst its immortal revellers and liber- 
tines, male and female. There was no 
sympathy for mortal suffering amongst 
those divine sensualists. They talked with 
contempt and unsympathizing ridicule of 
the woes of the earthborn, of the brevity 
of mortal life, and of its miseries. A boon, 
indeed, and a grateful exchange, was the 
Mother Mild of the Roman Catholic 
Pantheon, the patroness of the broken- 
hearted, who inclines her countenance 
graciously to the petitions of womanly 
anguish, for the voluptuous Aphrodite, 
the haughty Juno, the Di-Vernonish Ar- 
temis, and the lewd and wanton nymphs 
of forest, mountain, ocean, lake, and 
river. Ceres alone, of the old female 
classic daemons, seemed to be endowed 
with a truly womanly tenderness and re- 
gard for humankind. She, like the Ma- 
ter Dolorosa, is represented in the myths 
to have known bereavement and sorrow, 
and she, therefore, could sympathize with 
the grief of mothers sprung from Pyrrha's 
stem. Nay, she had envied them their 
mortality, which enabled them to join 
their lost ones, who could not come back 
to them, in the grave. Vainly she sought 
to descend into the dark underworld to 
see her " young Persephone, transcend- 
ent queen of shades." Not for her weary, 
wandering feet was a single one of the 
thousand paths that lead downward to 
death. Her only consolation was in the 
vernal flowers, which, springing from the 
dark earthly mould, seemed to her to be 

" heralds from the dreary deep, 
Soft voices from the solemn streams," 

by whose shores, veiled in eternal twi- 
light, wandered her sad child, the queen 
of the realm of Dis, with its nine-fold 
river, gates of adamant, and minarets of 
fire. The heartlessness of all the ethnic 
deities, of whatever age or nation, is a 
noticeable feature, especially when con- 
trasted with the unfathomable pity of 
their Exterminator, who wept over the 



chief city of his fatherland, and would 
have gathered it, as a hen gathereth her 
chickens, under the wings of his love, 
though its sons were seekiag to compass 
his destruction. Those old ethnic deities 
were cruel, inexorable, and relentless. 
They knew nothing of mercy and for- 
giveness. They ministered no balm to 
human sorrow. The daemons who wan- 
dered in human shape over the classic 
lands of old were all fickle and malevo- 
lent. They oftentimes impelled their vic- 
tims to suicide. The ghouls that haunt 
the tombs and waste places of the re- 
gions where they were once worshipped 
are their lineal descendants and modern 
representatives. The vampires and pest- 
hags of the Levant are their successors 
in malignity. The fair humanities of the 
old religion were fair only in shape and 
exterior. The old pagan gods were 
friendly only to kings, heroes, and gran- 
dees ; they had no beatitude for the poor 
and lowly. Human despair, under their 
dispensation, knew no alleviation but a 
plunge from light and life into the under- 
world, rather than be monarch of which, 
the shade of Achilles avers, in the " Odus- 
seia," that it would prefer to be the hire- 
ling and drudge of some poor earthly 
peasant. Elysium was only for a privi- 
leged few. 

It has been said that the old ethnic 
creeds were the true religion " growing 
wild," that the human soil was prepar- 
ed by such kind of spiritual crops and 
outgrowths, with their tares and weeds 
intermingled with wheat, for the seed 
that was finally to be sown by the Divine 
Sower, that, erroneous as they were in 
a thousand respects, they were genuine 
emanations of the religious nature in 
man, and as such not to be stigmatized 
or harshly characterized, that without 
them the human soil could not have been 
made ready for the crop of unmixed 
truth. This may be true of some of 
them, though surely not of the popular 
form of the old Greek ethnic faith. Its 
deities were nothing better than the pas- 
sions of human nature projected upon 
ethereal heights, and incarnated and 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



made personal in undecaying daemonic 
shapes, not conditioned and straitened 
like the bodies of man, but enjoying per- 
petual youth and immunity from death in 
most cases, with permission to take lib- 
erties with Space and Time greater even 
than are granted to us by steam and tele- 
graph-wires. 

The vulgar Grecian polytheism was 
all material. It had no martyrs and con- 
fessors. It was not worth dying for, as it 
was good for nothing to live by. The 
religion of Hellas was the religion of 
sensualistic beauty simply. It was just 
the worship for Pheidias and Praxiteles, 
for the bard of Teos and the soft Catul- 
lus, for sensual poet, painter, and sculp- 
tor. But " the blind old man of Scio's 
rocky isle," although we gather most of 
our knowledge of Olympus and the Olym- 
pians from his verse, was worthy of a lof- 
tier and purer heaven than the low one 
under which he wandered from city to 
city, singing the tale of Troy divine, and 
hymns and paeans to the gods. The good 
and the true were mere metaphysical ab- 
stractions to the old Greek. What must 
he have been when it would not have 
been safe for him to leave his wife alone 
with the best and highest of his gods ? 
The ancient Hellenes were morally most 
vicious and depraved, even when com- 
pared with contemporary heathen nations. 
The old Greek was large in brain, but 
not in heart. He had created his gods 
in his own image, and they were what 
they were. There was* no goodn.ess in 
his religion, and we can tolerate it only 
as it is developed in the Homeric rhap- 
sodies, in the far-off fable-time of the old 
world, and amongst men who were but 
partially self-conscious. In that remote 
Homeric epoch it is tolerable, when cat- 
tle-stealing and war were the chief em- 
ployments of the ruling caste, and we 
may add, woman-stealing, into the bar- 
gain. "I did not come to fight against 
the Trojans," says Achilles, "because I 
had suffered any grievance at their hands. 
They never drove off my oxen and horses 
or stole my harvests in rich-soiled Phthia, 
the nurse of heroes; for vale-darkening 



mountains and a tumultuous sea separate 
us." 

Into that old Homeric world we en- 
ter through the portals of the " Hias " 
and " Odusseia," and see the peaks of 
Olympus shining afar off in white splen- 
dor like silvery clouds, not looking fbr or 
expecting either a loftier or a purer heav- 
en. Somewhere on the bounds of the 
dim ocean-world we know that there is 
an exiled court, a faded sort of St Ger- 
main celestial dynasty, geologic gods, co- 
evals of the old Silurian strata, to wit, 
Kronos, Rhea, Nox, et al. Here these 
old, unsceptred, discrowned, and sky- 
fallen potentates "cogitate in their wa- 
tery ooze," and in " the shady sadness of 
vales," sometimes visited by their suc- 
cessors for counsel or concealment, or 
for the purpose of establishing harmony 
amongst them. The Sleep and Death of 
the Homeric mythology were naturally 
gentle divinities, sometimes lifting the 
slain warrior from the field of his fame, 
and bearing him softly through the air to 
his home and weeping kindred. This was 
a gracious office. The saintly legends of 
the Roman Church have borrowed a hint 
from this old Homeric fancy. One pleas- 
ant feature of the Homeric battles is, that, 
when some blameless, great-souled cham- 
pion falls, the blind old bard interrupts 
the performances for a moment and 
takes his reader with him away from 
the din and shouting of the battle, fol- 
lowing, as it were, the spirit of the fallen 
hero to his distant abode, where sit his 
old father, his spouse, and children, 
thus throwing across the cloud of battle a 
sweet gleam of domestic, pastoral life, to 
relieve its gloom. Homer, both in the 
" Hias " and " Odusseia," gives his read- 
ers frequent glimpses into the halls of 
Olympus ; for messengers are continually 
flashing to and fro, like meteors, between 
the throne of Zeus and the earth. Some- 
times it is Hermes sandalled with down ; 
sometimes it is wind- footed Iris, who is 
winged with the emerald pinnies of the 
rainbow ; and sometimes it is Oneiros, or 
a Dream, that glides down to earth, hood- 
ed and veiled, through the shadow of 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January,, 



night, bearing the behests of Jove. But 
however often we are permitted to re- 
turn to the ambrosial homestead of the 
ever-living gods in the wake of returning 
messengers, we always find it the same 
calm region, lifted far up above the tur- 
bulence, the perturbations, the clouds and 
storms of 

" That low spot which men call earth," 
a glorious aerial Sans-Souci and house 
of pleasaunce. 

It is curious that the atheistic Lucretius 
has gives us a most glowing description 
of the Olympian mansions ; but perhaps 
the Olympus of the Epicurean poet and 
philosopher is somewhat higher up and 
more sublimated and etherealized than 
the Olympus of Homer and of the popu- 
lar faith. In a flash of poetic inspiration, 
he says, " The walls of the universe are 
cloven. I see through the void inane. 
The splendor (numeri) of the gods ap- 
pears, and the quiet seats which are not 
shaken by storm-winds nor aspersed by 
rain-clouds; nor does the whitely falling 
snow-flake, with its hoar rime, violate 
their summery warmth, but an ever-cloud- 
less ether laughs above them with wide- 
spread radiance." Lucretius had all these 
lineaments of his Epicurean heaven from 
old Homer. They are scattered up and 
down the " Hias " and " Odusseia " in the 
shape of disjecta membra. For instance, 
the Olympus which he beholds through 
a chasm in the walls of the universe, tow- 
ering into the pure empyrean, has some 
of the features of Homer's island Elys- 
iums, the blissful abodes of mortal he- 
roes who have been divinized or trans- 
lated. The Celtic island-valley of Ava- 
lon, the abode of King Arthur, " with its 
orchard-lawns and bowery hollows," so 
exquisitely alluded to by Tennyson, is a 
kindred spot with the Homeric Elysian 
plain. Emerson says, " The race of gods, 
or those we erring own, are shadows 
floating up and down in the still abodes." 
This is exactly the meaning of Lucretius 
also. They are all air-cities, these seats 
of the celestials, whatever be the creed, 
summery, ethereal climes, fanned with 
spice-winds and zephyrs. Meru, Kaf, 



Olympus, Elboorz, they are all alike. 
The ethnic superior daemons were well 
termed the powers of the air. Upward 
into the far blue gazes the weary and 
longing saint and devotee of every faith. 
Beyond the azure curtains of the sky, 
upward Into the pure realm, over the 
rain-cloud and the thunder and the silver 
bars of the scirrhus, he places his quiet 
seats, his mansions of rest. 

The German poet, Schiller, who was 
a worshipper of Art and sensualistic 
beauty, and who regarded the sciences 
as the mere handmaids of Art, exalting 
the aesthetic above the moral nature in 
man, quite naturally regretted that he 
had not lived in the palmy days of the 
anthropomorphic creed of Hellas, before 
the dirge of Pan was chanted in the Isle 
of Naxos. His " Gods of Greek Land " 
is as fine a piece of heathenish longing 
as could well be written at so late a day. 
His heart was evidently far away from 
the century in which he lived, and pul- 
sated under that distant Grecian sky 
of which he somewhere speaks. For 
artistic purposes the myths of Greece 
formed a glorious faith. Grace and sym- 
metry of form were theirs, and they sa- 
tiated the eye with outward loveliness; 
but to the deep fountains of feeling and 
sentiment, such as a higher faith has un- 
sealed in the heart, they never penetrat- 
ed. What a poor, narrow little world was 
that myth-haunted one of the Grecian 
poet and sculptor, and even philosopher, 
compared with the actual world which 
modern science is revealing from year to 
year ! What a puny affair was that Gre- 
cian sun, with its coachman's apparatus 
of reins, fire-breathing nags, and golden 
car, which Schiller looks back to, in the 
spirit of Mr. Weller, Senior, when com- 
pared with the vast empyreal sphere and 
light-fountain of modern science, with its 
retinue of planets, ships of space, freight- 
ed with souls ! Science the handmaid 
of Art ! Well might the mere artist and 
worshipper of anthropomorphic beauty 
shrink appalled, and sigh for a lodge un- 
der some low Grecian heaven and in the 
bosom of some old myth-peopled Nature, 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



as he trembled before the apocalypses of 
modern sidereal science, which has drop- 
ped its plummet to unimaginable depths 
through the nebulous abysses of space, 
shoaled with systems of worlds as the sea 
is with its finny droves. The Nature and 
the Physical Universe of the old ethnic 
Greek formed only a little niche and re- 
cess, on the walls of which the puny hu- 
man image was easily reflected in beauti- 
ful and picturesque and grotesque shad- 
ows, which were mistaken for gods. But 
the Nature and Universe revealed by 
modern Christian science are too vast and 
profound to mirror anything short of the 
image of the Omnipotent himself. 

Still there is a period in the life of 
every imaginative youth, when he is a 
pagan and worships in the old Homeric 
pantheon, where self-denial and pen- 
ance were unknown, and where in grove 
and glen favored mortal lover might 
hear the tread of " Aphrodite's glowing 
sandal." The youthful poet may ex- 
claim with Schiller, 

" Art thou, fair world, no more ? 
Eeturn, thou virgin-bloom on Nature's face ! 
Ah, only on the minstrel's magic shore 
Can we the footstep of sweet Fable trace ! 
The meadows mourn for the old hallowing 

life; 

Vainly we search the earth of gods bereft ; 
Where once the warm and living shapes 

were rife, 

Shadows alone are left! 
Cold, from the North, has gone 
Over the flowers the blast that chilled their 

May; 

And, to enrich the worship of the One, 
A universe of gods must pass away! 
Mourning, I search on yonder starry steeps, 
But thee, no more, Selene, there I see ! 
And through the woods I call, and o'er the 

deeps, 
And Echo answers me."* 

The Elysian beauty and melancholy 
grace which Wordsworth throws over the 
shade of Alcestis were gleams borrowed 
from a better world than the mythic Elys- 
ium. Neither Olympus nor Erebus dis- 
dained the pleasures of sense. 

Shakspeare, in his "Midsummer-Night's 
Dream," has mingled the mythologies 
* Bulwer's Translation. 



of Hellas and Scandinavia, of the North 
and the South, making of them a sort of 
mythic olla podrida. He represents the 
tiny elves and fays of the Gothic fairy- 
land, span-long creatures of dew and 
moonshine, the lieges of King Oberon, 
and of Titania, his queen, as making 
an irruption from their haunted hillocks, 
woods, meres, meadows, and fountains, 
in the North, into the olive-groves of 
Ilissus, and dancing their ringlets in the 
ray of the Grecian Selene, the chaste, 
cold huntress, and running by the triple 
Hecate's team, following the shadow of 
Night round the earth. Strangely must 
have sounded the horns of the North- 
ern Elf land, "faintly blowing" in the 
woods of Hellas, as Oberon and his 
grotesque court glanced along, "with 
bit and bridle ringing,^ to bless the 
nuptials of Theseus with the bouncing 
Amazon. Strangely must have looked 
the elfin footprints in the Attic green. 
Across this Shakspearean plank, laid 
between Olympus and Asgard, or more 
strictly Alfheim, we gladly pass from the 
sunny realm of Zeus into that of his 
Northern counterpart, Odin, who ought 
to be dearer and more familiar to his de- 
scendants than the Grecian Jove, though 
he is not. The forms which throng As- 
gard may not be so sculpturesquely beau- 
tiful, so definite, and fit to be copied in 
marble and bronze as those of Olympus. 
There may be more vagueness of outline 
in the Scandinavian abode of the gods, 
as of far-off blue skyey shapes, but it is 
more cheerful and homelike. Pleasantly 
wave the evergreen boughs of the Life- 
Tree, Yggdrasil, the mythic ash-tree of 
the old North, whose leaves are green 
with an unwithering bloom that shall defy 
even the fires of the final conflagration. 
Iduna, or Spring, sits in those boughs 
with her apples of rejuvenescence, restor- 
ing the wasted strength of the gods. In 
the shade of its topmost branches stands 
Asgard, the abode of the Asen, who are 
called the Rafters of the World, to wit, 
Odin, Thor, Freir, and the other higher 
powers, male and female, of the old Teu- 
tonic religion. In Asgard is Valhalla, the 



8 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January, 



hall of elect heroes. The roots of this 
mundane ash reach as far downwards 
as its branches do upwards. Its roots, 
trunk, and branches together thrid the 
universe, shooting Hela, the kingdom of 
death, Midgard, the abode of men, and 
Asgard, the dwelling of the gods, like so 
many concentric rings. 

This ash was a psychological and onto- 
logical plant. All the lore of Plato and 
Kant and Fichte and Cousin was audi- 
ble in the sigh of its branches. Three 
Noras, Urt, Urgand, and Skuld, dwelt 
beneath it, so that it comprehended time 
past, present, and future. The gods held 
their councils beneath it. By one of its 
stems murmured the Fountain of Mimir, 
in Niflheim or Mistland, from whose urn 
welled up the ocean and the rivers of the 
earth. Odin had his outlook in its top, 
where kept watch and ward the All-seeing 
Eye. In its boughs frisked and gambolled 
a squirrel called Busybody, which carried 
gossip from bough to root and back. The 
warm Urdar Fountain of the South, in 
which swam the sun and moon in the 
shape of two swans, flowed by its celes- 
tial stem in Asgard. A tree so much ex- 
tended as this ash of course had its para- 
sites and rodentia clinging to it and gnaw- 
ing it ; but the brave old ash defied them 
all, and is to wave its skywide umbrage 
even over the ruins of the universe, after 
the dies irce shall have passed. So sings 
the Voluspa. This tree is a worthy type of 
the Teutonic race, so green, so vigorous, 
so all-embracing. We should expect to 
find the chief object in the Northern 
myth-world a tree. The forest was ever 
dear to the sons of the North, and many 
ancient Northern tribes used to hold 
their councils and parliaments under the 
branches of some wide-spreading oak or 
ash. Like its type, Yggdrasil, the Teu- 
tonic race seems to be threading the 
earth with the roots of universal domin- 
ion, and, true to hereditary instincts, it is 
belting the globe with its colonies, plant- 
ing it, as it were, with slips from the 
great Mundane Ash, and throwing Bi- 
frost bridges across oceans, in the shape 
of telegraph-cables and steamships. 



Asgard is a more homelike place than 
Olympus. Home and fireside, in their 
true sense, are Teutonic institutions. Val- 
halla, the hall of elect heroes, was ap- 
propriately shingled with golden shields. 
Guzzlers of ale and drinkers of lager- 
lier will be pleased to learn that this 
Northern Valhalla was a sort of celestial 
beer-saloon, thus showing that it was a 
genuine Teutonic paradise ; for ale would 
surely be found in such a region. In the 
" Prose Edda," Hor replies to Gangler 
who is asking him about the board and 
lodgings of the heroes who had gone to 
Odin in Valhalla, and whether they had 
anything but water to drink in huge 
disdain, inquiring of Gangler whether he 
supposed that the Allfather would invite 
kings and jarls and other great men, and 
give them nothing to drink but water. 
How do things divine and supernatural, 
when conceived of by man and cast in an 
earthly, finite mould, necessarily assume 
human attributes and characteristics ! 
Strong drinks, the passion of the North- 
ern races in all ages, are of course found 
in their old mythic heaven, in their fabled 
Hereafter, and even boar's flesh also. 
The ancient Teuton could not have en- 
dured a heaven with mere airy, unsub- 
stantial joys. There must be celestial 
roasts of strong meat for him, and flagons 
of his ancestral ale. His descendants to 
this day never celebrate a great occasion 
without a huge feed and corporation din- 
ners, thus establishing their legitimate 
descent from Teutonic stock. The Teu- 
tonic man ever led a life of vigorous ac- 
tion ; hence his keen appetite, whetted by 
the cold blasts of his native North. What 
wonder, then, at the presence of sodden 
boar's flesh in his ancient Elysium, and 
of a celestial goat whose teats yielded a 
strong beverage ? The Teuton liked not 
fasting and humiliation either in Midgard 
or Asgard. He was ever carnivorous 
and eupeptic. We New Englanders are 
perhaps the leanest of his descendants, 
because we have forsaken too much the 
old ways and habits of the race, and 
given ourselves too much to abstractions 
and transcendentalism. The old Teuton 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



abhorred the abstract. He loved the 
concrete, the substantial. The races of 
Southern Europe, what are now called 
the Latin races, were more temperate 
than the Teutonic, but they were far less 
brave, honest, and manly. Their sensu- 
ality might not be so boisterous, but it 
was more bestial and foul. Strength and 
manliness, and a blithe, cheery spirit, were 
ever the badges of the Teuton. But though 
originally gross and rough, he was capable 
of a smoother polish, of a glossier enamel, 
than a more superficial, trivial nature. 
He was ever deeply thoughtful, and capa- 
ble of profounder moods of meditation 
than the lightly-moved children of the 
South. Sighs, as from the boughs of 
Yggdrasil, ever breathed through his po- 
etry from of old. He was a smith, an 
artificer, and a delver in mines from the 
beginning. The old Teutonic Pan was 
far more musical and awe-inspiring than 
his Grecian counterpart. The Noon-spirit 
of the North was more wild than that of 
the South. How all the ancient North 
was alive in its Troll-haunted hillocks, 
where clanged the anvil of the faery hill- 
smith, and danced and banqueted the 
Gnome and Troll, and in its streams and 
springs, musical with the harps of moist- 
haired Elle-women and mermaids, who, 
ethnic daemons though they were, yet 
cherished a hope of salvation ! The myth- 
spirits of the North were more homely 
and domestic than those of the South, 
and had a broader humor and livelier 
fancies. The Northern Elf-folk were 
true natives of the soil, grotesque in 
costume and shape. 

The Teuton of to-day is the lineal de- 
scendant of the old worshipper of Thor. 
Mibllnir, the hammer of Thor, still sur- 
vives in the gigantic mechanisms of Watt, 
Fulton, and Stephenson. Thor embod- 
ied more Teutonic attributes than Odin. 
The feats which Thor performed in that 
strange city of Utgard, as they are re- 
lated in the old " Prose Edda," were pro- 
phetic of the future achievements of the 
race, of which he was a chief god. Thor 
once went on a journey to Jb'tunhcim, or 
Giant-land, a primitive outlying coun- 



try, full of the enemies of the Asgard dy- 
nasty, or cosmical deities. In the course 
of the journey, he lodged one night with 
his two companions in what he supposed 
to be a huge hall, but which turned out to 
be the glove of a giant named Skrymir, 
who was asleep and snoring as loud as 
an earthquake, near by. When the giant 
awoke, he said to Thor, who stood near, 
" My name is Skrymir, but I need not 
ask thy name, for I know that thou art 
the god Thor. But what hast thou done 
with my glove ? " Sure enough, on look- 
ing, Thor found that he had put up that 
night in Skrymir's handshoe, or glove. 
The giant and Thor breakfasted amica- 
bly together and went on their way till 
night, when Skrymir gave up his wallet of 
provisions to Thor and hi* two compan- 
ions, and bade them supply themselves, 
he meanwhile composing himself to 
sleep, snoring so loudly that the forest 
trembled. Thor could not undo the 
giant's wallet, and in his wrath he smote 
the somnolent lubber with his mallet, a 
crushing blow. Skrymir simply awoke, 
and inquired whether a leaf had not 
fallen upon his head from the oak-tree 
under which he was lying. Conceive 
the chagrin and shame of Thor at this 
question ! A second time Thor let fly at 
the giant with his mallet. This time it 
sank into his skull up to the handle, but 
with no more satisfactory result. The 
giant merely inquired whether an acorn 
had not dropped on his head, and want- 
ed to know how Thor found himself, 
whether he slept well or not ; to which 
queries Thor muttered an answer, and 
went away, determined to make a third 
and final effort with his mallet, which 
had never failed him until then. About 
daybreak, as Skrymir was taking his 
last snooze, Thor uplifted his hammer, 
clutching it so fiercely that his knuckles 
became white. Down it came, with ter- 
rific emphasis, crushing through Skry- 
mir's cheek, up to the handle. Skrymir 
sat up and inquired if there were not 
birds perched on the tree under which 
he had been lodging ; he thought he felt 
something dropping on his head, some 



10 



Olympus and Asyard. 



[January, 



moss belike. Alas for Thor and his 
weapon ! For once he found himself 
worsted, and his mightiest efforts regard- 
ed as mere flea-bites ; for Skrymir's talk 
about leaves and acorns and moss was 
merely a sly piece of humor, levelled at 
poor crestfallen Thor, as he afterwards 
acknowledged. After this incident, Thor 
and his two companions, the peasant's 
children, Thjalfi and Roska, and Skry- 
mir went their ways, and came to the 
high-gated city of Utgard, which stood 
in the middle of a plain, and was so 
lofty that Thor had to throw back his 
head to see its pinnacles and domes. 
Now Thor was by no means small ; in- 
deed, in Asgard, the city of the .ZEsir, he 
was regarded as a giant; but here in 
Utgard Skrymir told him he had better 
not give himself any airs, for the people 
of that city would not tolerate any as- 
sumption on the part of such a manni- 
kin! 

Utgard-Loki, the king of the city, re- 
ceived Thor with the utmost disdain, 
calling him a stripling, and asked him 
contemptuously what he could do. Thor 
professed himself ready for a drinking- 
ruatch. Whereupon Utgard-Loki bade 
his cup-bearer bring the large horn 
which his courtiers had to drain at a sin- 
gle draught, when they had broken any 
of the established rules and regulations 
of his palace. Thor was thirsty, and 
thought he could manage the horn with- 
out difficulty, although it was somewhat 
of the largest. After a long, deep, and 
breathless pull which he designed as a 
finisher, he set the horn down and found 
that the liquor was not perceptibly low- 
ered. Again he tried, with no better re- 
sult ; and a third time, full of wrath and 
chagrin, he guzzled at its contents, but 
found that the liquor c t'll foamed near to 
the brim. He gave back the horn in dis- 
gust. Then Utgard-Loki proposed to 
him the childish exercise of lifting his 
cat. Thor put his hands under Tabby's 
belly, and, lifting with all his might, could 
only raise one foot from the floor. He 
was a very Gulliver in Brobdignag. As 
a last resort, he proposed to retrieve his 



tarnished reputation by wrestling with 
some Utgardian ; whereupon the king 
turned into the ring his old nurse, Elli, 
a poor toothless crone, who brought 
Thor to his knees, and would have 
thrown him, had not the king interfered. 
Poor Thor ! The next morning he took 
breakfast in a sad state of mind, and 
owned himself a shamefully used-up in- 
dividual. The fact was, he had stray- 
ed unconsciously amongst the old brute 
powers of primitive Nature, as he ought 
to have perceived by the size of the 
kids they wore. He had done better 
than he was aware of, however. The 
three blows of his hammer had fallen 
on nothing less than a huge mountain, 
instead of a giant, and left three deep 
glens dinted into its surface ; the drink- 
ing-horn, which he had undertaken to 
empty, was the sea itself, or an outlet of 
the sea, which he had perceptibly lower- 
ed ; while the cat was in reality the Mid- 
gard Serpent, which enringed the world 
in its coils, and the toothless she-wrestler 
was Old Age ! What wonder that Thor 
was brought to his knees ? On finding 
himself thus made game of, Thor grew 
wroth, but had to go his ways, as the 
city of Utgard had vanished into thin 
air, with its cloud-capped towers and 
enormous citizens. Thor afterwards un- 
dertook to catch the Midgard Serpent, 
using a bull's head for bait. The World- 
Snake took the delicious morsel greedily, 
and, finding itself hooked, writhed and 
struggled so that Thor thrust his feet 
through the bottom of his boat, in his 
endeavors to land his prey. 

There is a certain grotesque humor in 
Thor's adventures, which is missed in his 
mythologic counterpart of the South, Her- 
cules. It is the old rich " world-humor " 
of the North, genial and broad, which still 
lives in the creations of the later Teutonic 
Muse. The dints which Thor made on 
the mountain-skull of Skrymir were types 
and forerunners of the later feats of the 
Teutonic race, performed on the rough, 
shaggy, wilderness face of this Western 
hemisphere, channelling it with watery 
highways, tunnelling and levelling its 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



11 



mountains, and strewing its surface with 
cities. The old Eddas and Voluspas of 
the North are full of significant lore for 
the sons of the Northmen, wherever their 
lot is cast There they will find, that, 
in colonizing and humanizing the face of 
the world, in zoning it with railroads and 
telegraph-wires, in bridging its oceans 
with clipper-ships and steamboats, and in 
weaving, forging, and fabricating for it 
amid the clang of iron mechanisms, they 
are only following out the original bent 
of the race, and travelling in the wake 
of Thor the Hammerer. 

While the Grecian and Roman myths 
are made familiar by our school-books, 
it is to be regretted that the wild and 
glorious mythic lore of our ancient 
kindred is neglected. To that you 
must go, if you would learn whence 
came 

" the German's inward sight, 
And slow-sure Britain's secular might," 

and it may be added, the Anglo-Ameri- 
can's unsurpassed practical energy, skill, 
and invincible love of freedom. From 
the fountains of the ash-tree Yggdrasil 
flowed these things. Some of the great- 
est of modern Teutonic writers have 
gone back to these fountains, flowing in 
these wild mythic wastes of the Past, 
and have drunk inspiration thence. Per- 
cy, Scott, and Carlyle, by so doing, have 
infused new sap from the old life-tree of 
their race into our modern English litera- 
ture, which had grown effete and stale 
from having had its veins injected with 
too much cold, thin, watery Gallic fluid. 
Yes, Walter Scott heard the innumerous 
leafy sigh of Yggdrasil's branches, and 
modulated his harp thereby. Carlyle, 
too, has bathed in the three mystic foun- 
tains which flow fast by its roots. In an 
especial manner has the German branch 
of the Teuton kindred turned back to 
those old musical well-springs bubbling 
v:p in the dim North, and they have 
been strengthened and inspired by the 
pilgrimage. -Under the root, which 
stretches out towards the Jb'tuns, there is 
Mimir's Well, in which Wisdom and Wit 



lie hidden." Longfellow, too, has drunk 
of Mimir's Well, and hence the rare 
charm and witchery of his " Evangeline," 
" Hiawatha," and " Golden Legend." 
This well in the North is better than 
Castalian fount for the children of the 
North. 

How much more genial and lovable is 
Balder, the Northern Sun-god, than his 
Grecian counterpart, the lord of the un- 
erring bow, the Southern genius of light, 
and poesy, and music ! Balder dwelt in 
his palace of Breidablick, or Broadview ; 
and in the magical spring-time of the 
North, when the fair maiden Iduna 
breathed into the blue air her genial 
breath, he set imprisoned Nature free, 
and filled the sky with silvery haze, and 
called home the stork and crane, sum- 
moning forth the tender buds, and cloth- 
ing the bare branches with delicate green. 
" Balder is the mildest, the wisest, and the 
most eloquent of all the JEsir," says the 
" Edda," A voice of wail went through 
the palaces of Asgard when Balder was 
slain by the mistletoe dart. Hermod rode 
down to the kingdom of Hela, or Death, 
to ransom the lost one. Meantime his 
body was set adrift on a floating funeral 
pyre. Hermod would have succeeded 
in his mission, had not Lok, the Spirit of 
Evil, interposed to thwart him. For this, 
Lok was bound in prison, with cords made 
of the twisted intestines of one of his own 
sons ; and he will remain imprisoned until 
the Twilight of the Gods, the consumma- 
tion of all things. 

On the shoulders of Odin, the su- 
preme Scandinavian deity, sat two ra- 
vens, whispering in his ears. These 
two ravens are called Hugin and Mu- 
nin, or Thought and Memory. These 
"stately ravens of the saintly days of, 
yore " flew, each day, all over the world, 
gathering "facts and figures," doubtless 
for their august master. It is a beau- 
tiful fable, and reminds one of Milton's 
" thoughts which wander through eterni- 
ty." The dove of the Ark, and the bird 
which perched on the shoulder of the old 
Plutarrhan hero Sertorius, are recalled 
by this Scandinavian legend : 



12 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January, 



" Hugin and Munin 
Each down take their flight 
Earth's fields over." 

Nobler birds, these dark ravens of the 
Northern Jove, than the bolt-bearing 
eagle of his Grecian brother. So much 
deeper, more significant, and musical are 
the myths of the stern, dark, and tender 
North than those of the bright and fickle 
South ! 

Notwithstanding that Valhalla was 
full of invincible heroes, and that the 
celestial city of Asgard was the abode 
of the chief gods, still it had a watch- 
man who dwelt in a tower at the end of 
the Bridge Bifrbst. Heimdall was his 
name, and he was endowed with the 
sharpest ear and eye that ever warder 
possessed. He could hear grass and wool 
grow with the utmost distinctness. The 
JEsir, notwithstanding their supreme po- 
sition, had need of such a warder, with 
his Gjallar-horn, mightier than the Pala- 
din Astolfo's, that could make the uni- 
verse reecho to its blast. The truth 
was, over even the high gods of As- 
gard hung a Doom which was mightier 
than they. It was necessary for them to 
keep watch and ward, therefore, for evil 
things were on their trail. There were 
vast, mysterious, outlying regions beyond 
their sway : Niflheim or Mistland, Mus- 
pellheim or Flameland, and Jbtunheim, 
the abode of the old earth-powers, match- 
ed with whom, even Thor, the strongest of 
the Asen, was but a puny stripling. Over 
this old Scandinavian heaven, as over all 
ethnic celestial abodes, the dark Destinies 
lorded it with unquestioned sway. From 
the four corners of the world, at last, 
were to fly the snow-flakes of the dread 
Fimbul, Winter, blotting the sun, and 
moaning and drifting night and day. 
Three times was Winter to come and 
go, bringing to men and gods " a storm- 
age, a wolf-age." Then cometh Ragna- 
rok, the Twilight of the Gods! Odin 
mounts his war-steed. The vast ash 
Yggdrasil begins to shiver through all 
its height The beatified heroes of Val- 
halla, who have ever been on the watch 
for this dread era, issue forth full of the 



old dauntless spirit of the North to meet 
the dread agents of darkness and doom. 
Garm, the Moonhound, breaks loose, and 
bays. " High bloweth Heimdall his horn 
aloft. Odin counselleth Mimir's head." 
The battle joins. In short, the fiery bap- 
tism prophesied in the dark scrolls of 
Stoic sage and Hebrew and Scandina- 
vian scald alike wraps the universe. 
The dwarfs wail in their mountain-clefts. 
All is uproar and hissing conflagration. 

"Dimmed's now the sun; 
In ocean earth sinks ; 
From the skies are cast 
The sparkling stars ; 
Fire-reek rageth 
Around Time's nurse, 
And flickering flames 
With heaven itself shall play." 

By " Time's nurse," in the foregoing 
lines from the "Voluspa," is meant the 
Mundane Tree Yggdrasil, which shall 
survive unscathed, and wave mournfully 
over the universal wreck. But in the 
" Edda" Hor tells Gangler that " another 
earth shall appear, most lovely and ver- 
dant, with pleasant fields, where the grain 
shall grow unsown. Vidar and Vali shall 
survive. They shall dwell on the Plain 
of Ida, where Asgard formerly stood. 
Thither shall come the sons of Thor, 
bringing with them their father's mallet. 
Baldur and Hbdur shall also repair thith- 
er from the abode of Death. There shall 
they sit and converse together, and call 
to mind their former knowledge and the 
perils they underwent." 

Perhaps we might give the Eddaic 
Twilight of the Gods a more human and 
strictly European interpretation. May 
it not also foreshadow the great Arma- 
geddon struggle which is evidently im- 
pending between the Teutonic races in 
Western Europe, with their Protestant- 
ism, free speech, individual liberty, right 
of private judgment, and scorn of all 
thraldom, both material and mental, on 
the one side, and the dark powers of 
absolutism, repression, and irresponsible 
authority in church and state, on the 
other? How Russia, the type of brute- 
force, presses with crushing weight on in- 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



13 



tellectual Germany! Soon she will ab- 
sorb the old kingdoms of Scandinavia, 
to wit, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. 
On the shores of Norway the ruler of 
the Sclavonic race will hang over Scot- 
land and England, like a bird of prey 
about to swoop upon his victim. All des- 
pots and absolutists will array themselves 
under his banner or be his auxiliaries. 
The old hierarchies will be banded with 
him to crush out Protestantism, which is 
a plant of Teutonic growth. Old Asia, 
with her rancor and despotic traditions, 
recognizes in the Russian imperial rule 
a congenial rallying-point against the 
progressive and hated Anglo-Saxonism 
and Protestantism of the West A de- 
cisive struggle is surely impending be- 
tween freedom and absolutism, between 
the bigoted adherents of the old faiths 
and the nations that have cut loose from 
them. Perhaps this struggle may be pre- 
figured in the old Northern myth of the 
Twilight of the Gods. 

All the old mythic cosmogonies are 
strangely suggestive and full of mystic 
import, that of Northern Odinism more 
than any other. In that dim Niflheim, 
for instance, with its well-springs of the 
waters of the upper world confusedly 
bubbling, and its metallic ore-veins, and 
dusk, vaporous atmosphere, whence is- 
sued the old Nibelungen heroes of the 
great Teutonic epos, there is much that 
is suggestive. May not one discover in 
this old cosmogonic myth a dim hint of 
the nebular hypothesis of creation, as it is 
called ? Certainly, Niflheim, the Mistland, 
and Muspellheim, the Flameland, com- 
mingled together, would produce that hot, 
seething, nebulous fire-mist, out of which, 
the physicists say, was evolved, by ag- 
glomeration and centrifugal and centrip- 
etal attraction, our fair, harmonious sys- 
tem of worlds bounded by outermost Nep- 
tune, thus far the Ultima Thule of the 
solar system. Perhaps Asgard, translat- 
ed from mythic into scientific language, 
means the Zodiacal Light, and the Bridge 
Bifrost, the Milky Way. 

How curious, to trace in the grotesque 
mythic cosmogonies of India, Greece, and 



Scandinavia, modern geology, botany, 
chemistry, etc., the vast and brutal 
giants of the Eddas and other old mythic 
scriptures being recognized as imperso- 
nations of the forces of Nature ! The old 
mythic cosmogonists and the modern ge- 
ologists and astronomers do not differ 
amongst themselves so much, after all. 
The mythic physicists had personal agents 
at work, in place of our simple element- 
al ones ; the result is the same. Take the 
mythic cosmogonies of ancient Greece, 
Scandinavia, and India, and the geolo- 
gies and astronomies of the present day, 
and compare their pages, changing things 
personal into things impersonal. The ex- 
pulsion and banishment of the old shape- 
less mundane deities by a new and more 
beautiful race of gods, the cosmical divin- 
ities, the powers and rulers of an order- 
ed world, are intelligible enough when 
translated into our modern geological 
nomenclature. The leaves of the Stone 
Book, as the rocky layers of the earth 
have been called, and the blue hiero- 
gh-phic page of heaven, also, are more 
intelligibly read by the aid of the mythic 
glosses of old religion, of Saga, Rune, and 
Voluspa. They spell the telluric records 
aright in their own peculiar language. 
The assaults of the Typhons and Jotuns 
upon the celestial dynasty, and their at- 
tempts to scale the fiery citadels of the 
gods by making ladders of mountains, 
indicate clearly enough the different rev- 
olutions read by geology in the various 
strata and rocky layers piled upon the 
primitive granite of the globe, the burst- 
ing through of eruptions from the central 
fire, extruding and uplifting mountains, 
and the subsidence of the ocean from one 
ripple-marked sea-beach to another low- 
er down. In those dim geologic epochs, 
where annals are written on Mica Slate, 
Clay Slate, and Silurian Systems, on Old 
Red Sandstones and New, on Primary and 
Secondary Rocks and Tertiary Chalk- 
beds, there were topsy-turvyings amongst 
the hills and gambollings and skippings 
of mountains, to which the piling of Pe- 
lion upon Ossa was a mere cobble- 
stone feat Alps and Apennines then 






14 



Olympus and Asgard. 



[January, 



played at leap-frog. Vast basaltic mass- 
es were oftentimes extruded into the as- 
tonished air from the very heart and core 
of the world. In truth, the old mythic 
cosmogonies of the ancient East, South, 
and North are not a whit too grotesque 
in their descriptions of the embryo earth, 
when it lay weltering in a sort of uter- 
ine film, assuming form and regular lin- 
eaments. 

There is nothing more drear, mon- 
strous, wild, dark, and lonely in the de- 
scriptions of the mythologic than of the 
scientific page. What more wild and 
drear is there, even in Indian cosmogo- 
nic fable, than that strange carbonigenous 
era of the globe, whose deposits, in the 
shape of petrified forests, now keep us 
warm and cook our food, and whose 
relics and souvenirs are pressed between 
the stone leaves of the secondary rock for 
preservation by the Omnipotent Herbal- 
ist? Land and water were then distin- 
guishable, but as yet there was no ter- 
restrial animal, nothing organic but radi- 
ata and molluscs, belly-footed and head- 
footed, and other aquatic monstrosities, 
mailed, plated, and buckler-headed, cast- 
ing the shovel-nosed shark of the present 
Cosmos entirely into the shade, in point 
of horned, toothed, and serrated hor- 
rors. These amorphous creatures glided 
about in the seas, and vast sea-worms, or 
centipcdal asps, the parents of modern 
krakens and sea-serpents, doubtless, ac- 
companied them. There stood that un- 
finished world reeking with charcoal 
fumes, its soft, fungous, cryptogamic veg- 
etation efflorescing with fierce luxuri- 
ance in that ghastly carbonic atmos- 
phere. Rudimental palms and pines of 
mushroom growth stood there motionless, 
sending forth no soft and soul-like mur- 
murs into the lurid reek ; for as yet leaves 
and flowers and blue skies and pure 
breezes were not, nothing but whiffs 
of mephitic and lethal vapor ascending, 
as from a vast charcoal brazier. No lark 
or linnet or redbreast or mocking-bird 
could live, much less warble, in those 
carbonic times. The world, like a Mis- 
sissippi steamer, was coaling, with an eye 



to the needs of its future biped passen- 
gers. The embryotic earth was then tru- 
ly a Niflheim, or Mistland, a dun, fuming 
region. Those were the days, perhaps, 
when Nox reigned, and the great mun- 
dane egg was hatching in the oven-like 
heat, from which the winged boy Eros leap- 
ed forth, " his back glittering with golden 
plumes, and swift as eddying air." We 
have it on good authority, that the Adi- 
rondack Mountains of New York, and the 
Grampian Hills of Scotland, where Nor- 
val was to feed his flocks, had already 
upheaved their bare backs from the boil- 
ing caldrons of the sea, thus stealing a 
march on the Alps and many other more 
famous mountains. 

How opposite and remote from each 
other are the mythologic ages and the 
nineteenth century ! The critical and 
scientific spirit of the one is in strange 
contrast with the credulous, blindly rev- 
erent spirit of the other. Mythology del- 
egated the government of the world to 
inferior deities, the subjects of an omnip- 
otent Fate or Necessity ; while, to show 
how extremes meet, mere science dele- 
gates it to chemical and physiological 
agencies, and ends, like the mythic cos- 
mogonies, in some irrepressible sponta- 
neous impulse of matter to develope it- 
self in the ever-changing forms of the 
visible universe. Myriads of gods were 
the actors in " the rushing metamorpho- 
sis " of the old myth-haunted Nature ; 
while chemic and elemental forces per- 
form the same parts in the masquerade 
of the modern Phusis. Both mythology 
and science, therefore, stick fast in sec- 
ondary causes. 

Myths are the religion of youth, and of 
primitive, unsophisticated nations; while 
science may be called the religion of the 
mature man, full of experience and im- 
mersed in the actual. The Positivism of 
Comte, like the old myth-worship, sets 
up for its deity human nature idealized, 
adorned with genius and virtue. The Pos- 
itivist worships virtuous human nature, 
conditioned and limited as it is ; while the 
Mythist worshipped it reflected on the 
outer world and endowed with supernat- 



1859.] 



Olympus and Asgard. 



15 



ural attributes, clothed with mist-caps and 
wishing-eaps that gave it dominion over 
space and time. The restless, glittering, 
whimsical sprites of fairy mythology, that 
were believed of old to have so large 
a share in shaping the course of Na- 
ture and of human life, have vanished 
from the precincts of the schoolmaster at 
least. They could not endure the clear 
eyebeam of Science, which has searched 
their subterranean abodes, withering them 
up and metamorphosing them into mere 
physiological forces. Reason and scien- 
tific investigation have no patience with 
the things of faith and imagination. Our 
poets now have to go back to the Past, 
to the standpoints of the old pagan 
bards. Tennyson lives in the land of 
the Lotophagi, in the Arabian Nights of 
the Bagdad of Caliph Haroun, and in 
the orchard lawns of King Arthur's Ava- 
lon. So, too, Longfellow must inhale the 
golden legendary air of the Past. The 
mere humanitarian bards, who try to 
make modern life trip to the music of 
trochees, dactyles, and spondees, fail mis- 
erably. Industrialism is not poetical. 
Our modern life expresses itself in ma- 
chines, in mathematical formulas, in sta- 
tistics, and with scientific precision gener- 
ally. Art and poetry are pursued in the 
spirit of past ages, and concern them- 
selves with the symbols, faiths, and ideal 
creations of the Past. 

It is true, however, that all past ages 
of the world are contemporaneous in 
this age. For example, we have in this 
nineteenth century the patriarchal age 
of the world still surviving in the des- 
ert tents of the Arab, while the mythic, 
anthropomorphic period is still extant 
in Persia, China, and India, and even 
among the nations of the West, in the 
rustic nooks and corners of the Roman 
Catholic countries of Europe. But the 
existing nations, which still preserve that 
old ethnic worship and the mediaeval 
superstitions, are mere lingerers and 
camp-followers in the march of human- 
kind. Under the ample skirts of the 
Roman Church still cower and lurk the 
superstitions of the old ethnic world, 



baptized to be sure, and called by new 
names. The Roman see has ever had 
a lingering kindness for the fair hu- 
manities of old religion, which live no 
longer in the faith of Protestant reason 
and free inquiry. She compromised with 
them of old, and they have clung about 
her waist ever since. She has put her 
uniform upon them, and made them do 
service in her cause, and keep alive with 
their breath the fast expiring embers of 
faith and imaginative credulity, which 
she so much loves and commends. Like 
an equivocal and ambiguous nature, the 
'old Mother Church, as she is called, is 
upward fair and Christian, but downward 
foul and ethnic. She attacks human na- 
ture on the side of the heart, the senses, 
and those old instincts which Coleridge 
says bring back the old names. Reason 
and intellection, sharpened by science, 
she abhors; but so large a part of man- 
kind still linger in the rear of the van- 
guard nations, that she has yet a long 
lease of life to run, with myriads of 
adherents to cling to her with fanati- 
cal tenacity, nay, with proselytes from 
amongst the poetical, the artistic, and 
imaginative, who voluntarily prefer to 
the broad sunshine of science the twi- 
light gloom of her sanctuaries, in order 
there the better to woo the old inspira- 
tion of art, superstitious faith, and po- 
esy. The old ethnic instincts of human 
nature are formidable auxiliaries of the 
Mother Church. Puseyism would rehal- 
low the saintly wells even of Protestant, 
practical England, and send John Bull 
again on a pilgrimage to the shrines of 
Canterbury and Walsingham. Compare 
a Yankee, common-school-bred, and an 
Austrian peasant, if you would learn 
how the twelfth and nineteenth centu- 
ries live together in the current year. 
The one is self-reliant, helpful, and ver- 
satile, not freighted with any old-world 
rubbish ; while the other is abject, and 
blindly reverent, and full of the old 
mythic imagination that is in strong 
contrast with the keen common-sense 
of the Protestant, who dispels all twi- 
light fantasies with a laugh of utter in- 



16 



- 
Juanita. 



[January, 



credulity. The one sees projected on 
the outer world his own imaginings, now 
fair, now gloomy ; while the other sees in 
the world, land to be cut up into corner- 
lots for speculation, and water for saw- 
mills and cotton-mills, and to float clip- 
per-ships and steamers. The one is this- 
worldly ; the other is other-worldly. The 
one is armed and equipped at all points 
to deal with the Actual, to subdue it and 
make the most of it ; he aims for suc- 
cess and wealth, for elegance, plenty, and 
comfort in his home ; while the other is 
negligent, a frequenter of shrines, in all 
things too superstitious, overlooking and 
slighting mere physical comfort, and con- 
tent with misery and dirt. The Romish 
peasant lives begirt by supernatural be- 
ings, who demand a large share of his 
time and thoughts for their service ; while 
the thrifty Protestant artisan or agricul- 
turist is a practical naturalist, keeping his 
eye fixed on the main chance. Brown- 
son would have us believe that he is 
morally and spiritually the inferior of the 
former. For this light of common day, 
which now shines upon the world, the 
multiplication-table, and reading and writ- 
ing, are far better than amulet, rosary, 
and crucifix. 

After all, this light of common day, 
which the bards and saints so much con- 
demn and disdain, when subjected to the 
microscopic and telescopic ken of mod- 
ern science, opens as large a field for 
wonder and for the imagination to revel 
in as did the old marvels, fables, and 



fictions of the Past. The True is begin- 
ning to be found as strange, nay, stranger 
than the purely Imaginative and Mythic. 
The Beautiful and the Good will yet be 
found to be as consistent with the strictly 
True and Actual, with the plain Matter- 
of-Fact as it is called, as they have been, 
in the heroic ages of human achieve- 
ment and endurance, with the glorious 
cheats and delusions that nerved man to 
high emprise. The modern scientific dis- 
coverer and inventor oftentimes finds 
himself engaged in quests as strange as 
that of the Holy Grail of Round-Table 
fiction. To the Past, with its mythic de- 
lusions, simplicity, and dense ignorance 
of Nature, we can never return, any 
more than the mature man can shrink 
into the fresh boy again. Nor is it to 
be regretted. The distant in time, like 
the distant in space, wears a halo, a 
vague, blue loveliness, which is all un- 
real. The tired wayfarer, who is weary 
with the dust, the din, and stony foot- 
ing of the Actual and the Present, may 
sometimes fondly imagine, that, if he 
could return ,to the far Past, he would 
find all smooth and golden there ; but 
it is a pleasant delusion of that glorious 
arch-cheat, the imagination. Yet if we 
cannot go back to the Past, we can 
march forward to a Future, which opens 
a deeper and more wondrous and air- 
ier vista, with its magicians of the Ac- 
tual casting into shade the puny achieve- 
ments of old necromancy and mythic 



JUANITA. 



YES! I had, indeed, a glorious revenge ! Love may change ; loved ones may die ; 
Other people have had home, love, hap- the fair-faced children may grow up hard- 
hearted and ungrateful. But my revenge 
will not deceive or disappoint me ; it can- 
not change or pass away ; it will last 
through Time into Eternity. 

I was left an orphan in early child- 



piness ; they have had fond caresses, ten- 
der cares, the bright faces of children 
shining round the board. I had none 
of these ; my revenge has stood to me- in 
place of them all. And it has stood well. 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



17 



hood. My father was an officer in the 
American Navy ; my mother a Spaniard. 
She was very beautiful, I always heard ; 
and her miniature, which my father's 
dying hand placed about my neck, pro- 
claimed her so. A pale, clear, olive tint, 
eyes of thrilling blackness, long, lustrous 
hair, and a look of mingled tenderness 
and melancholy made it, in my thought, 
the loveliest face that mortal eyes could 
see. 

My parents left me no fortune, and I 
fell to the care of my father's only brother, 
a man of wealth and standing. I have 
no story to tell of the bitterness of de- 
pendence, of slights, and insult, and 
privation. My uncle had married, some- 
what late in life, a young and gentle 
woman ; when I was twelve years old 
she became the mother of twins, two 
lovely little girls. No one, unacquainted 
with the family history, could have sup- 
posed that I was other than the elder 
sister of Florence and Leonora. Every 
indulgence was granted me, every ad- 
vantage of dress and education bestowed 
upon me. So far as even I could see, 
my uncle and aunt regarded me as their 
own child. Nor was I ungrateful, but 
repaid them with a filial reverence and 
affection. 

I did not inherit the fulness of my 
mother's beauty, but had yet some traits 
of her, the pale, clear skin, the large, 
black eyes, the glossy and abundant hair. 
Here the resemblance ceased. I have 
heard my uncle say, how often ! 
" Your mother, Juanita, had the most 
perfect form I ever saw, except in mar- 
ble"; all Spanish women, indeed, he told 
me, had a full, elastic roundness of shape 
and limb, rarely seen among our spare 
and loose-built nation. I was American 
in form, at least, slight and stooping, 
with a certain awkwardness, partly to be 
imputed to my rapid growth, partly to my 
shyness and reserve. I was insatiably 
fond of reading, little attracted toward 
society. When my uncle's house, as often 
happened, was full of gay company, I 
' withdrew to my own room, and read my 
favorite authors in ita pleasant solitude. 

VOL. HI. 2 



I was ill at ease with lively, fashionable 
people, very much at home with books. 
Thanks to my uncle's care, I was well 
educated, even scholarly, for my age and 
sex. My studious habits, far from be- 
ing discouraged, were praised by all the 
household, and I was looked upon as a 
prodigy of cleverness and industry. 

A widow lady, of the name of Haugh- 
ton, came to live in the little cottage near 
us when' I was fifteen years old. She 
was well-born, but poor, and had known 
many sorrows. My aunt, Mrs. Heywood, 
soon became interested in her, and took 
pleasure in offering her those numerous 
attentions which a wealthy neighbor can 
so easily bestow, and which are so grate- 
ful to the recipient. Mrs. Haughton and 
her sons were frequent guests at our 
house ; and we, too, spent many pleasant 
hours in the vine-covered porch of the 
cottage. I had few companions, and 
John and William Haughton were very 
welcome to me. They were somewhat 
older than I, John twenty-two, and Wil- 
liam two years younger ; and I was thus 
just able to escape regarding them with 
that profound contempt which the girl 
of fifteen usually feels for " boys." After 
knowing them awhile I felt how baseless 
such contempt would be ; for they pos- 
sessed a depth and maturity of character 
rarely seen except in men of much ex- 
perience. John was grave and thought- 
ful ; his livelier brother often said he had 
come into the world some centuries too 
late, that he was meant for an Augus- 
tine or a Pascal, so studious was he, and 
so saintly. Do not fancy that he was 
one of those stiff, bespectacled, pedantic 
youths who cannot open their lips with- 
out a classic allusion or a Greek quota- 
tion ; nothing could be farther from the 
truth. He was quiet and retiring ; very 
few guessed how beneath that exterior, 
so unassuming, lay hid the noblest aspira- 
tions, the most exalted thought. It was 
John I should have loved. 

But it was William who won my heart, 
even without an effort. I, the pale, seri- 
ous girl, loved with a wild idolatry the 
gay and careless youth. Never, from that 



18 



Juanita. 



[January, 



day till now, have I seen a man so per- 
fect in all manly beauty. Strength and 
symmetry were united in his tall, athletic 
figure ; his features were large, but nobly 
formed ; his hair, of a sunny hue, fell in 
rich masses over a broad, Avhite brow. 
So might Apollo have looked in the flush 
of his immortal youth. 

At first I gazed at him only with the 
enthusiasm which his extreme beauty 
might well awaken in the heart of a ro- 
mantic maiden ; then I grew to see in the 
princely type of that beauty a reflection 
of his mind. Did ever any fond fool 
so dote upon her Ideal as I on mine ? 
All generous thoughts, all noble deeds, 
seemed only the fit expression of his na- 
ture. Then I came to mingle a reverence 
with my admiration. We were friends ; 
he talked to me much of his plans in life, 
of the future that lay before him. 
What an ambitious spirit burned with- 
in him ! a godlike ambition I thought it 
then. And how my weak, womanish 
heart thrilled with sympathy to his ! 
With what pride I listened to his words ! 
with what fervor I joined in his long- 
ings ! 

There came a time when I trembled 
before him. I could no longer walk 
calmly arm-in-arm with him under the lin- 
den-trees, hearkening joyfully. I dared 
not lift my eyes to his face ; I turned pale 
with suppressed feeling, if he but spoke 
my name Juanita or took my hand in 
his for friendly greeting. What a hand 
it was ! so white, and soft, and shapely, 
yet so powerful ! It was the right hand 
for him, a fair and delicate seeming, a 
cruel, hidden strength. When he spoke 
of the future my heart cried out against 
it ; it was intolerable to me. In its bright 
triumphs I could have no part ; thereto 
I, could follow him only with my love and 
tears. The present alone was mine, and 
to that I passionately clung. For I nev- 
er dreamed, you see, that he could love 
me. 

My manner toward him changed; I 
was fitful and capricious. I dreaded, 
above all things, that he should suspect 
my feelings. Sometimes I met him cold- 



ly ; sometimes I received his confidences 
with an indifferent and weary air. This 
could not last. 

One night it was a little time before 
he left us he begged me to walk with 
him once more under the lindens. I 
made many excuses, but he overruled 
them all. We left the brilliantly-lighted 
rooms and stood beneath the solemn 
shadow of the trees. It was a warm, soft 
night ; the harvest moon shone down 
upon us ; a south wind moaned among 
the branches. We walked silently on 
till we reached a rustic seat, fonned of 
gnarled boughs fantastically bound to- 
gether ; here he made me sit down and 
placed himself beside me. 

" Juanita," he said, in a tone so soft, so 
thrillingly musical, that I shall never for- 
get it, " what has come between us ? Are 
you no longer my friend ? " 

I tried to answer him, and could not ; 
love and grief choked my utterance. 

" Look at me," he said. 

I looked. The moon shone full on his 
face ; his eyes were bent on mine. What 
a serpent-charm lurked in their treacher- 
ous blue depths ! If, looking at me thus, 
he had bidden me kill myself at his feet, 
I must have done it 

" Juanita," he said, with a smile of con- 
scious power, " you love me ! But why 
should that destroy our happiness ? " 

He held out his arms ; I threw myself 
on his bosom in an agony of shame and 
joy. Oh, Heaven ! could it be possible 
that he loved me at last ? 

Long, long, we sat there in the moon- 
light, his arms around me, my band 
clasped in his. Poor hand ! even by that 
faint radiance how dark and thin it looked 
beside his, so white and rounded ! How 
gloriously beautiful was he ! what a poor, 
pale shadow I ! And yet he loved me ! 
He did not talk much of it ; he spoke 
more of the future, our future. It all 
lay before him, a bright, enchanted land, 
wherein we two should walk together. 
We had not quite reached it, but we 
surely should, and that ere long. 

The steps toward it were prosaic 
enough, save as his imagination bright- 



1859.] Juanita. 

ened them. An early friend of his dead 
father, a distinguished lawyer, wishing to 
further William's advancement in life, 
gave him the opportunity of studying his 
profession with him, offering him, at the 
same time, a home in his own family. 
From these slender materials William's 
fancy built air-castles the most magnifi- 
cent. He would study assiduously ; with 
such a prize in view, he fondly said, his 
patience would never weary. He felt 
within himself the consciousness of talent ; 
and talent and industry must succeed. 
A bright career was before him, fame, 
fortune ; and all were to be laid at my 
feet ; all would be valueless, if not shared 
with me. 

" Ah, William," I asked, with a mo- 
ment's sorrowful doubt, " are you sure of 
that ? Are you certain that it is not 
fame you look forward so eagerly to pos- 
sess, instead of me ? " 

" How dare you say such a thing?" he 
answered, sternly. I did not mind the 
sternness; there was love behind it. 

" And what am I to do while you are 
thus winning gold and glory ? " I asked, 
at length. 

" I will tell you, Juanita. In the first 
place, you are not to waste your time 
and spirits in long, romantic reveries, 
and vain pining because we cannot be 
together." 

"Indeed, I will not!" was my quick 
reply, though I colored deeply. I was 
ashamed that he thought me in danger 
of loving him too well. " I know you 
think me foolfsh and sentimental ; but I 
assure you I will try to be different, since 
you wish it." 

" That is my own dear girl ! You must 
go out, you must see people, you must 
enjoy yourself. You must study, too; 
don't let your mind rust because you are 
engaged. It will be quite time enough 
for that when we are married." 

" You need not be afraid ; I shall al- 
ways wish to please you, William, and so 
I shall always endeavor to improve." 

" Good child ! " he said, laughing. 
" But you will not always be such an 
obedient infant, Juanita. You will find 



1. 



out your power over me, and then you 
will want to exercise it, just for the pleas- 
ure of seeing me submit. You will be 
despotic about the veriest trifles, only 
to show me that my will must bow to 
yours." 

" That will never be ! I have no will 
of my own, where you are concerned, 
William. I only ask to know your wish- 
es, that I may perform them." 

" Is that indeed so ? " he said, with a 
new tenderness of manner. " I am very 
glad ; for, to tell the truth, my love, I fear 
I should have little patience with woman- 
ish caprices. I have reasons always for 
what I do and for what I require, and I 
could not long love any one who opposed 
them." 

Again I assured him that he need feel 
no such dread. How happy we were ! 
yes, I believe he loved me enough then 
to be happy, even as I was. 

It was so late before we thought of 
going in, that a messenger was sent to 
seek us, and many a fine jest we had 
to encounter when we reached the draw- 
ing-room. 

The next day, William spoke to my 
uncle, who seemed to regard the mat- 
ter in a light very different from ours. 
He said, we were a mere boy and girl, 
that years must elapse before we could 
marry, and by that time we should very 
probably have outgrown our liking for 
each other ; still, if we chose, we might 
consider ourselves engaged ; he did not 
know that he had any objection to make. 
This manner of treating the subject was 
not a flattering one ; however, we had 
his consent, and that was the main point, 
after all. 

So we were troth-plight ; and Wil- 
liam went forth on his career of labor 
and success, and I remained at home, 
loving him, living for him, striving to 
make my every act what he would have 
it. I went into company as he had bid- 
den me; I studied 'and improved nnsd!'; 
I grew handsomer, too. All who saw me 
noticed and approved the alteration in 
my appearance. I was no longer awk- 
ward and stooping ; my manner had ac- 



20 

quired something of ease and graceful- 
ness ; a faint bloom tinged my cheek and 
made my dark eyes brighter. I was 
truly happy in the change ; it seemed to 
render me a little more suited to him, 
who was so proudly, so splendidly hand- 
some. 

I remembered what he had said too 
well to spend much time in love-dreams ; 
but my happiest moments were when I 
was alone, and could think of him, read 
his letters, look at his picture, and fancy 
the joyfulness of his return. 

His letters ! there the change first 
showed itself. At first they were all, and 
more than all, I could wish. I blushed to 
read the ardent words, as I did when he 
had spoken them. But by-and-by there 
was a different tone : I could not describe 
it ; there was nothing to complain of; and 
yet I felt so surely ! that something was 
wrong. I never thought of blaming him ; 
I dreaded lest I had in some way wound- 
ed his affection or his pride. I asked no 
explanation ; I thought to do so might 
annoy or vex him, for his was a peculiar 
nature. I only wrote to him the more 
fondly, strove more and more to show 
him how my whole heart was his. But 
the change grew plainer as months pass- 
ed on ; and some weeks before the time 
appointed for his return, the letters ceased 
altogether. 

This conduct grieved me, certainly, 
yet I was more perplexed than unhap- 
py. It never occurred to me to doubt 
his love ; I thought there must be some 
mistake, some offence unwittingly given, 
and I looked to his coming to clear away 
all doubt and trouble. But I longed so 
for that coming ! it seemed as if the 
weeks would never end. I knew he 
loved me ; but I needed to hear him say 
it once more, to have every shadow 
dispelled, and nothing between us but 
the warmest affection and fullest confi- 
dence. 

In such a mood I met him. The house 
was full of guests, and I could not bear 
to see him for the first time before so 
many eyes. I had watched, as may well 
be believed, for his .irrival, and a little 



Juanita. [January, 

before dark had seen him enter his moth- 
er's house. He would surely come over 
soon ; I ran down the long walk, and 
paced up and down beneath the trees, 
awaiting him. As soon as he came in 
sight I hastened toward him ; he met me 
kindly, but the change that had been in 
his letters was plainer yet in his manner. 
It struck a chill to my heart. 

" I suppose you have a house full of 
company, as usual," he remarked pres- 
ently, glancing at the brilliant windows. 

" Yes, we have a number of friends 
staying with us. Will you go in and see 
them? There are several whom you 
know." 

" Thank you, not to-night ; I am not 
in the mood. And I have a good deal to 
say to you, Juanita, that deeply concerns 
us both." 

" Very well," I replied ; " you had bet- 
ter tell me at once." 

We walked on to the old garden-chair, 
and sat down as we had done that mem- 
orable night. We were both silent, I 
from disappointment and apprehension.' 
He, I suppose, was collecting himsel 
what he had to say. 

" Juanita," he spoke at last, taking my 
hand in his, " I do not know how you 
will receive what 1 am about to tell you. 
But this I wish you to promise me : that 
you will believe I speak for our best hap- 
piness, yours as well as mine." 

" Go on," was all my reply. 

" A year ago," he continued, " we sat 
here as we do now, and, spite of doubts 
and misgivings and a broken resolution, 
I was happier than I shall ever be again. 
I had loved you from the first moment I 
saw you, with a passion such as I shall 
never feel for any other woman. But I 
knew that we were both poor ; I knew 
that marriage in our circumstances could 
only be disastrous. It would wear out 
your youth in servile cares ; it would 
cripple my energies ; it might even, after 
a time, change our love to disgust and 
aversion. And so, though I believed my- 
self not indifferent to you, I resolved 
never to speak of my love, but to strug- 
gle against it, and root it out of my heart. 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



21 



You know how differently it happened. 
Your changed manner, your averted 
looks, gave me rnuuh pain. I feared to 
have offended you, or in some way for- 
feited your esteem. I brought you here 
to ask an explanation. I said, 'Juanita, 
are you no longer my friend?' You 
know what followed; the violence of your 
emotion sluwed me all. You remem- 
ber?" 

Did I not ? and was it not generous 
of him to remind me then ? 

" I saw you loved me, and the great 
joy of that knowledge made me forget 
prudence, reason, everything. After- 
wards, when alone, I tried to justify to 
myself what I had done, and partially 
succeeded. I argued that we were young 
and could wait ; I dreamed, too, that my 
ardor could outrun time, and grasp in 
youth the rewards of mature life. In 
that hope I left you. 

" Since then my views have greatly 
changed. I have seen something not 
much, it is true of men and of life, and 
have found that it is an easy thing to 
dream of success, but a long and diffi- 
cult task to achieve it. That I have 
talent it would be affectation to deny; 
but many a poor and struggling lawyer 
is my equal. The best I can hope for, 
Juanita, is a youth of severe toil and 
griping penury, with, perhaps, late in 
life, almost too late to enjoy it, com- 
petence and an honorable name. And 
even that is by no means secure ; the 
labor and the poverty may last my life 
long. 

" You have been reared in the enjoy- 
ment of every luxury which wealth can 
command. How could you bear to suffer 
privations, to perform menial labors, to 
be stinted in dress, deprived of conge- 
nial society, obliged to refrain from ev- 
ery amusement, because you were una- 
ble to afford the expense ? How should 
you like to have a grinding economy 
continually pressing upon you, in every 
arrangement of your household, every 
detail of your daily life ? to have your 
best days pass in petty rares and sav- 
ings, all your intellect expended in the 



effort to make your paltry means do the 
greatest possible service ? " 

It was not a pleasant picture, but, 
harshly drawn as it was, I felt in the ful- 
ness of my love that I could do all that, 
and more, for him. Oh, yes ! for him and 
with him I would have accepted any ser- 
vitude, any suffering. Yet a secret some- 
thing withheld me from saying so ; and 
how glad I soon was that I had kept si- 
lence ! 

" You make no reply, Juanita," he 
said. " Well, I might put on a pre- 
tence of disinterestedness, and say that 
I was unwilling to bind you to such a 
fate, and therefore released you from 
your engagement. It would not be al- 
together a pretence, for nothing could 
be more painful to me tfyan to see the 
brightness of your youth fading away 
in the life I have described. But I 
think of myself, too ; comforts, luxuries, 
indulgences, I value highly. Since my 
father's death I have tasted enough of 
poverty to know something of its bitter- 
ness ; and to be doomed to it for life is 
appalling to me. The sordid cares of 
narrow means are so distasteful, that I 
cannot contemplate them with any de- 
gree of patience. After a day of ex- 
hausting mental effort, to return to a 
dingy, ill-furnished home, to relieve 
professional labors by calculations about 
the gas-bill or the butcher's account, I 
shrink from such a miserable prospect! 
I love the elegant, the high-bred, the 
tasteful, in women ; I am afraid even 
my love for you would alter, Juanita, 
to see you day by day in coarse or 
shabby clothing, performing such offices 
as are only suited to servants, whom 
we could not afford to keep. 

" I have thought of it a great deal, 
and it seems to me that it is useless and 
hopeless, that it would be the wildest fol- 
ly, to continue our engagement. With 
our tastes and habits, we must seek in 
marriage the means of comfort, the ap- 
pliances of luxury. Others may find in 
it tlx>, bewildering bliss we might have 
known, had fortune been favorable to 
us ; but, as it is, I think the best, the 



22 



Juanita. 



[January, 



wisest, the happiest thing we can do is 
to part ! " 

Oh, Heaven ! this from him ! 

" Still, Juanita, if you think other- 
wise," he went on after a moment's pause, 
" if you prefer to hold me to our en- 
gagement, I am ready to fulfil it when 
you wish." 

It was like a man to say this, and then 
to feel that he had acted uprightly and 
honorably ! 

I said nothing for a time ; I could not 
speak. All hell woke in my heart. I 
knew then what lost spirits might feel, 
grief, and wounded pride, and rage, ha- 
tred, despair ! In the midst of all I made 
a vow ; and I kept it well ! 

How I had loved this man ! with what 
a self-forgetting, adoring love ! He had 
been my thought, day and night. I would 
have done anything, sacrificed, suffered 
anything, yes, sinned even, to please 
his lightest fancy. And he cast me cold- 
ly off because I had no fortune ! tram- 
pled my heart into the dust because I 
was poor ! 

" You make no answer, Juanita," he 
said, at length. 

" I am thinking," I replied, looking up 
and laughing slightly, " how to say that 
I quite agree with you, and have been 
planning all day how I should manage 
to tell you the very same thing." 

Miserable falsehood ! But I spoke it so 
coolly, that he was thoroughly deceived. 
He never suspected the truth, my deep 
love, my outraged pride. 

" It is just as you have said, William. 
We have elegant tastes, and no means 
of gratifying them. What should we do 
together ? Only make each other mis- 
erable. You need a rich wife, I a rich 
husband, who can supply us with the 
indulgences we demand. To secure these 
we can well make the sacrifice of a few 
romantic fancies." 

" I am glad you think so," he replied, 
yet somewhat absently. 

" You must wait awhile for Florence," 
I continued ; " she is four years old, and 
twelve years hence .you will yet be quite 
a personable individual. And Florence 



will have a fortune worth waiting for, I 
assure you. Or perhaps you have some- 
body more eligible already in view. 
Come, William, be frank, tell me all 
about it." 

" I did not expect this levity, Juanita," 
he answered, severely. " You must know 
that I have never thought of such a thing. 
And believe me," he said, in a tenderer 
tone, " that, among all the beautiful wom- 
en I have seen, and some have not dis- 
dained to show me favor, none ever 
touched my heart for a moment Had 
we any reasonable prospect of happiness, 
I could never give you up ; I love you 
better a thousand times than anything 
in the world." 

" Except yourself," I said, mockingly ; 
and I looked at him with a mischievous 
smile, while a storm of passion raged in 
my heart and my brain seemed on fire. 
" Be it so ! I do not complain of such a 
splendid rival. But really, William, I 
cannot boast of constancy like yours, 
even ; though I suppose most people 
would consider that rather a poor, flaw- 
ed specimen. It hurt my dignity very 
much when Uncle Heywood called our 
attachment a boy-and-girl affair ; but I 
soon found that he knew best about it. 
For a time I kept my love very warm 
and glowing ; but it was not long ere the 
distractions you bade me seek in society 
proved more potent than I wished. I 
found there were other things to be en- 
joyed than dreams of you, and even 
shall I confess it ? I can now, I suppose 
other people to be admired as well as 
you ! " 

" Indeed ! " he said, with ill-concealed 
annoyance. " You had a great talent for 
concealment, then; your letters showed 
no trace of the change." 

"I know they didn't," I answered, 
laughing. " I hated very much to admit 
even to myself that I had altered; it 
seemed, you know, so capricious and 
childish, in short, so far from romantic. 
I kept up the illusion as long as I could ; 
used to go off alone to read your letters, 
look at your picture, and fancy I felt 
just as at first. Then when I sat down 



1859.] 



Juanita, 



to write, and remembered how handsome 
you were, and all that had happened, the 
old feelings would come back, and for 
the time you were all I cared for. But 
I am very glad we have had this expla- 
nation, and understand each other. We 
shall both be happier for it." 

I had a little taste of vengeance, even 
then, when I saw how his vanity was 
wounded. He tried to look relieved, 
I dare say he tried to feel so, but I 
question very much whether he was 
pleased with himself that he had been 
so cool and philosophical. He did not 
wish to make me wretched ; but he had 
expected I would be so, as a matter of 
course. To find me so comfortable' un- 
der the infliction perplexed and discon- 
certed him. 

" This will not make any coldness 
between us, I hope ? " he said, at last. 
" We will be friends still, dear Juanita?" 

" Yes," I replied, " we will be friends, 
dear William. We are a great deal 
more in our true relations thus than as 
lovers." 

" And your uncle's family," he in- 
quired, "shall we explain all to them?" 

" There is no need of that," I answer- 
ed, carelessly. " Let things pass. After 
a time they will perhaps notice that there 
is a change, and I can tell them that we 
are botli tired of the engagement They 
will ask no further questions." 

" Thank you," he said. " It will save 
ine some embarrassment." 

" Yes," I replied, looking at him steadi- 
ly, " I think it would have been a rather 
awkward topic for you to broach." 

His eye fell before mine ; through all 
the sophistry he had used, I think some 
slight sense of the baseness of his con- 
duct forced itself upon his mind. 

" Now I must return to the house," I 
said, rising ; " will you not come with 
me ? My uncle and aunt will expect to 
see you, and Anna Gray is here. You 
can make your first essay toward the 
rich match this evening." 

" Nonsense ! " he said, impatiently, yet 
he accompanied inc. I knew he did not 
like to lose sifjlit of me. 



Never had I exerted myself so much 
to please any one, as I did that night to 
charm and attract him ; not, indeed, by 
any marked attention ; that would have 
failed of its object. But I talked and 
danced ; I displayed for his benefit all that 
I had acquired of ease and manner since 
he left. I saw his astonishment, that the 
pale, quiet girl who was wont to sit in 
some corner, almost unnoticed, should 
now be the life of that gay circle. I 
made him admire me most at the very 
moment he had lost me forever, and so 
far, all was well. 

I went to my room that night a differ- 
ent creature. That place had been a 
kind of sanctuary to me. By its vine- 
draped window I had loved to sit and 
think of him, to read the books he liked, 
and fashion my mind to what he could 
approve. But the spot which I had left, 
a hopeful and loving girl, I returned to, 
a forsaken and revengeful woman. My 
whole nature was wrought up to one 
purpose, to repay him, to the last iota, 
all he had made me suffer, all the hu- 
miliation, the despair. It was strange 
how this purpose upbore and consoled 
me ; for I needed consolation. I hated 
him, yet I loved him fiercely, too ; I de- 
spised him, yet I knew no other man 
would ever touch my heart. He had 
been, he always must be, everything to 
me, the one object to which all my 
thoughts tended, to which my every ac- 
tion was referred. 

I took from a drawer his letters and 
his few love-gifts. The paper I tore to 
fragments and threw into the empty fire- 
place. I lighted the heap, and toss- 
ed the gifts, one after another, into the 
flame. Last of all, I drew his portrait 
from my bosom. I gazed at it an instant, 
pressed it to my lips. No, I would not 
destroy this, I would keep it to remind 
me. 

I remember thinking, as I watched 
the flickering flame, that this was some- 
thing like a witch's incantation. I smiled 
at the idea. 

The next morning there was only a 
heap of light ashes left in the grate. 



Juanita. 



[January, 



I pursued my purpose determinedly 
and with unflagging zeal. I did not 
know exactly how it would be realized, 
but I felt sure I should achieve it. My 
first care was to cultivate to the utmost 
every faculty I possessed. My educa- 
tion had been hitherto of rather a sub- 
stantial order; I had few accomplish- 
ments. To these I turned my care. 
" What has a woman," I thought, " to do 
with solid learning ? It never tells in 
society." I had observed the rapt atten- 
tion with which William listened to mu- 
sic. Hitherto I had been only a passable 
performer, such as any girl of sixteen 
might be. But under the influence of 
this new motive I studied diligently ; the 
best masters were supplied me ; and soon 
my progress both astonished and delight- 
ed myself and all who heard me. 

I have before said that a change for 
the better had taken place in my per- 
son ; this I strove by every means in my 
power to increase. I rode, I walked, I 
plied the oars vigorously upon our little 
lake. My health grew firm, my cheeks 
more blooming, my form fuller and ma- 
jestic. I took the greatest pains with 
my toilet. It was wonderful to see, day 
by day, as I looked into the mirror, the 
alteration that care and taste could effect 
in personal appearance. Could this erect, 
stately figure, with its air of grace and 
distinction, be one with the thin, stoop- 
ing form, clad in careless, loose-fitting 
garb, which I so well remembered as 
myself? Could that brilliant face, with 
its bands of shining hair, that smile of 
easy self-confidence, belong to me ? What 
had become of the pale, spiritless girl? 
My uncle sometimes asked the question, 
and, looking at me with a fond, admiring 
glance, would say, " You were made 
for an empress, Juanita ! " I knew then 
that I was beautiful, and rejoiced in the 
knowledge ; but no tinge of vanity min- 
gled with the joy. I cultivated my beau- 
ty, as I did my talents, for a purpose of 
which I never lost sight 

It was now I learned for the first time 
that John Haughton loved me. When 
it became generally understood that 



William and I were no longer engaged, 
John came forward. I do not know 
what he, so good, so high-minded, saw 
in me ; but certainly he loved me with 
a true affection. When he avowed it, 
a strange joy seized me ; I felt that now 
I held in my hand the key of William's 
destiny. Now I should not lose my hold 
on him ; we could not drift apart in the 
tide of life. As John's bride, John's 
wife, there must always be an intimate 
connection between us. So I yielded 
with well-feigned tenderness to my lov- 
er's suit, only stipulating, that, as some 
time must elapse before our marriage, no 
one should know of our attachment, not 
even William, or his mother, nor, on my 
part, any of my uncle's family. He made 
no objection ; I believe he even took a 
romantic pleasure in the concealment. 
He liked to see me moving about in 
society, and to feel that there was a tie 
between us that none dreamed of but 
ourselves. Poor John ! he deserved bet- 
ter of Fate than to be the tool of my re- 
venge ! 

William came home, soon after our 
engagement, for his annual visit. He 
was succeeding rather better than his 
dismal fancies had once prognosticated. 
He was very often at our house, very 
much my friend. I saw through all that 
clearly enough ; I knew he loved me a 
hundred-fold more passionately than in 
our earlier days ; and the knowledge was 
to me as a cool draught to one who is 
perishing of thirst. I did all in my pow- 
er to enhance his love ; I sang bewilder- 
ing melodies to him ; I talked to him of 
the things he liked, and that roused his 
fine intellect to the exercise of its pow- 
ers. I rode with him, danced with him ; 
nor did I omit to let him see the admira- 
tion with which others of his sex regard- 
ed me. I was well aware that a man 
values no jewel so highly as that which 
in a brilliant setting calls forth the plau- 
dits of the crowd. I talked to him often 
of his prospects and hopes ; his ambition, 
all selfish as it was, fascinated me by its 
pride and daring. " Ah, William ! " I 
sometimes thought, " you made a deadly 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



25 



mistake when you cast ine off! You 
will never find another who can so enter, 
heart and soul, into all your brilliant 
projects ! " 

He came to me, one morning, rather 
earlier than his wont. I was reading, 
but laid aside my book to greet him. 

" What have you there, Juanita ? 
. Some young-ladyish romance, I sup- 
pose." 

" Not at all, it is a very rational 
work; -though I presume you will laugh 
at it, because it contains a little senti- 
ment, you are grown so hard and cold, 
of late." 

" Do you think so ? " he asked, with a 
look that belied the charge. 

He took up the volume, and, glancing 
through it, read now and then a sen- 
tence. 

" What say you to this, Juanita ? ' If 
we are still able to love one who has 
made us suffer, we love him more than 
ever.' Is that true to your experience ? " 
" No," I answered, for I liked at times 
to approach the topic which was always 
uppermost in my mind, and to see his 
perfect unconsciousness of it. " If any 
one had made me suffer, I should not 
stop to inquire whether I were able to 
love him still or not; I should have but 
one thought left, revenge ! " 

" How very fierce ! " he said, laughing. 
" And your idea of revenge is what ? 
To stab him with your own white 
hand ? " 

" No ! " I said, scornfully. " To kill a 
person you hate is, to my mind, the most 
pitiful idea of vengeance. What! put 
him out of the world at once P Not 
so ! He should live," I said, fixing my 
eyes upon him, " and live to suffer, 
and to remember, in his anguish, why 
he suffered, and to whose hand he owed 
it!" 

It was a hateful speech, and would 
have repelled most men; for my life I 
dared not have made it before John. 
But I knew to whom I was talking, and 
that he had no objection to a slight spice 
of diablerie. 

" What curious glimpses of character 



you open to me now and then," he said, 
thoughtfully. " Not very womanly, how- 
ever." 

"Womanly!" I cried. "I wonder 
what a man's notion of woman is ! Some 
soft, pulpy thing that thrives all the bet- 
ter for abuse V a spaniel that loves you 
more, the more you beat it ? a worm that 
grows and grows in new rings as often as 
you cut it asunder? I wonder history 
has never taught you better. Look at 
Judith with Holofernes, Jael with Sis- 
era, or if you want profane examples, 
Catherine de Medicis, Mademoiselle de 
Brinvilliers, Charlotte Corday. There 
are women who have formed a pur- 
pose, and gone on steadily toward its 
accomplishment, even though, like that 
Roman girl, Tullia was he\r name ? 
they had to drive over a father's corpse 
to do it" 

" You have known such, perhaps," 
said Richard. 

" Yes," I answered, with a gentle 
smile, " I have. They wished no harm, 
it might be, to any one, but people stood 
in their way. It is as if you were going 
to the arbor after grapes, and there were 
a swarm of ants in the path. You have 
no malice against the ants, but you want 
the grapes, so you walk on, and they 
are crushed." 

I was thinking of John and of his love, 
but William did not know that 

" You are a strange being ! " he said, 
looking at me with a mixture of admira- 
tion and distrust. 

" Ah ! Well, you see my race is some- 
what anomalous, a blending of the 
Spaniard and the Yankee. Come, I 
will be all Spanish for a time; bring 
me the guitar. Now let me sing you a 
romance." 

I struck the tinkling chords, and began 
a sweet love-ditty. Fixing my eyes on 
his, I made every word speak to his heart 
from mine. I saw his color change, his 
eyes melt; when the song ended, he 
was at my feet 

I know not what he said ; I only know 
it was passion, burning and intense. Oh, 
but it was balm both to my love and hate 



26 



Juanita. 



[January, 



to bear him ! I let him go on as long as 
he would, then I said, gently caressing 
his bright hair, 

" You forget, dear William, all those 
lessons of prudence you taught me not so 
very long ago." 

He poured forth the most ardent prot- 
estations; he begged me to forget all 
that cold and selfish reasoning. Long 
since he had wished to offer me his hand, 
but feared lest I should repel him with 
scorn. Would I not pardon his former 
ingratitude, and return his love ? 

" But you forget, my friend," I said, 
" that circumstances have not altered, 
but only your way of viewing them ; we 
must still be poor and humble. Don't 
you remember all your eloquent pi Cur- 
ings of the life we should be obliged to 
lead ? Don't you recollect the dull, din- 
gy house, the tired, worn-out wife in shab- 
by clothing " 

" Oh, hush, Juanita ! Do not recall 
those wretched follies ! Besides, circum- 
stances have somewhat changed ; I am 
not so very poor. My income, though 
small, will be sufficient, if well-managed, 
to maintain us in comfort and respecta- 
bility." 

" Comfort and respectability ! " I ex- 
claimed, with a shudder. " Oh, William, 
can you imagine that such words apply 
to me? The indulgences of wealth are 
necessary to me as the air I breathe. I 
suppose you would be able to shield me 
from absolute suffering; but that is not 
enough. Do not speak of this again, for 
both our sakes. And now, good friend," 
I added, in a lighter tone, " I advise you 
to get up as soon as may be ; we are 
liable to interruption at any time ; and 
your position, though admirable for a 
tableau^ would be a trifle embarrassing 
for ordinary life." 

He started to his feet, and would have 
left me in anger, but I recalled him with 
a word. It was good to feel my power 
over this man who had slighted and re- 
jected me. Before we parted that day 
he had quite forgiven me for refusing 
him and making him ridiculous ; 1 thought 
a little of the spaniel was transferred to 



him. I saw, too, he had a hope, which 
I carefully forbore to contradict, that I 
preferred him to any other, and would 
accept him, could he but win a fortune 
for me. And so I sent him out into the 
world again, full of vain, feverish desires 
after the impossible. I gave him all the 
pains of love without its consolations. 
It was good, as far as it went. 

John and I, meanwhile, got on very 
peacefully together. He was not demon- 
strative, nor did he exact demonstration 
from me. I had promised to marry him, 
and he trusted implicitly to my faith ; 
while his love was so reverent, his ideal 
of maiden delicacy so exalted, that I 
should have suffered in his esteem, I 
verily believe, had my regard been shown 
other than by a quiet tenderness of man- 
ner. 

About this time my uncle's family went 
abroad. They wished me to accompany 
them, but I steadily declined. When they 
pressed me for a reason, I told them of 
my engagement to John, and that I was 
unwilling to leave him for so long a time. 
The excuse - was natural enough, and 
they believed me; and it was arranged 
that during the period of their absence 
I should remain with a sister of Mrs. 
Heywood. 

The time passed on. I saw William 
frequently. Often he spoke to me of his 
love, and I scarcely checked him ; I liked 
to feed him with false hopes, as once he 
had done to me. He did not speak again 
of marriage ; I knew his pride forbade 
it. I also knew that he believed I loved 
him, and would wait for him. 

I heard often from our travellers, and 
always in terms of kindness and affec- 
tion. At last their speedy return was an- 
nounced ; they were to sail in the " Arc- 
tic," and we looked joyfully forward to 
the hour of their arrival. Too soon 
came the news of the terrible disaster ; 
a little while of suspense, and the awful 
certainty became apparent. My kind, 
indulgent uncle and all his family, whom 
I loved as I would my own parents and 
sisters, were buried in the depths of the 
Atlantic. 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



27 



I will not attempt to describe my grief; 
it has nothing to do with the story that is 
written here. When, after a time, I came 
back to life and its interests, a startling 
intelligence awaited me. My uncle had 
died intestate ; his wife and children had 
perished with him ; as next of kin, I was 
sole heir to his immense estate. When 
my mind fully took in the meaning of all 
this I felt that a crisis was at hand. Day 
by day I looked for William. 

I had not long to wait. I was sitting 
by my window on a bright October day, 
reading a book I loved well, " Shirley," 
one of the three immortal works of a 
genius fled too soon. As I read, I traced 
a likeness to my own experience ; Caro- 
line was a curious study to me. I mar- 
velled at her meek, forgiving spirit ; if I 
would not imitate, I did not condemn 
her. 

Then I heard the gate-latch click ; I 
looked out through the vine-leaves, all 
scarlet with the glory of the season, and 
saw William coming up the walk. I 
knew why he was there, and, still retain- 
ing the volume in my hand, went down 
to meet him. 

We walked out in the grounds ; it was 
a perfect afternoon ; all the splendor of 
autumn, without a trace of its swift-com- 
ing decay. Gold, crimson, and purple 
shone the forests through their softening 
haze ; and the royal hues were repeated 
on the mountain, reflected in the river. 
The sky was cloudless and intensely blue ; 
the sunlight feli, with red glow, on the 
fading grass. A few late flowers of gor- 
geous hues yet lingered in the beds and 
borders ; and a sweet wind, that might 
have come direct from paradise, sighed 
over all. William and I walked on, con- 
versing. 

At first we spoke of the terrible disas- 
ter and tny loss ; he could be gentle when 
he chose, and now his tenderness and 
sympathy were like a woman's. I almost 
forgot, in listening, what he was and had 
been to me. I was reminded when he 
began to speak of oiu>el\es ; I recalled 
it fully, when again, with all the power 
that passion and eloquence could impart, 



he declared his love, and begged me to 
be his. 

I looked at him ; to my eye he seemed 
happy, hopeful, triumphant ; handsomer 
he could not be, and to me there was a 
strange fascination in his lofty, masculine 
beauty. I felt then, what I had always 
known, that I loved him even while I 
hated him, and for an instant I wavered. 
Life with him ! It looked above all things 
dear, desirable ! But what ! Show such a 
weak, such a womanish spirit ? Give up 
my revenge at the very moment that it 
was within my grasp, the revenge I had 
lived for through so many years ? Nev- 
er ! I recalled the night under the lin- 
dens, and was mys.elf again. 

" Dear William," I said, gently, " you 
amaze and distress me. Sufeh love as a 
sister may give to an only brother you 
have long had from me. Why ask for 
any other?" 

" ' A sister's love ! ' " he cried, impa- 
tiently. "I thought, Juanita, you were 
above such paltry subterfuges ! Is it as 
a brother I have loved you all these long 
and weary years ? " 

" Perhaps not, I cannot say. At any 
rate," I continued, gravely, " a sisterly 
affection is all I can give you now." 

" You are trifling with me, Juanita ! 
Cease ! It is unworthy of you." 

He seized my hand, and clasped it 
to his breast. How wildly his heart beat 
under my touch ! I trembled from head 
to foot, but I said, in a cold voice, " You 
are a good actor, William ! " 

" You cannot look in my eyes and say 
you believe that charge," he answered. 

I essayed to do it, but my glance fell 
before his, so ardent, so tender. Spito 
of myself, my cheeks burned with blush- 
es. Quietly I withdrew my hand and 
said, " I am to be married to John in 
Dec-ember." 

Ah, but there was a change then ! The. 
flush and the triumph died out of his 
face, as when a lamp is suddenly extin- 
guished. Yet there was as much indigna- 
tion as grief in his voice when he said, 

"Heaven forgive you, Juanita! You 
have wilfully, cruelly deceived me !" 



28 



Juanita. 



[January, 



" Deceived you ! " I replied, rising with 
dignity. " Make no accusation. If de- 
ceived you were, you have simply your 
own vanity, your own folly, to blame for 
whatever you may suffer." 

" You have listened to my love, and 
encouraged me to hope " 

" Silence ! I did love you once, 
your cold heart can never guess how 
well, how warmly. I would have loved 
on through trial and suffering forever ; 
no one could have made me believe any- 
thing against you ; nothing could have 
shaken niy fidelity, or my faith in yours. 
It was reserved for yourself to work my 
cure, for your own lips to pronounce 
the words that changed my love to cool 
contempt." 

" Oh, Juanita," he cried, passionately, 
" will you always be so vindictive ? Will 
you forever remind me of that piece of 
insane folly ? Let it go, it was a boy's 
whim, too silly to remember." 

" You were no boy then," I answered. 
" You had a mature prudence, a careful 
thoughtfulness for self. Or if otherwise, 
in your case the child was indeed father 
to the man." 

" Your love is dead, then, I suppose ? " 
he questioned, with a bitter smile. 

I handed him the book I had been 
reading. It was marked at these words : 
" Love can excuse anything except mean- 
ness ; but meanness kills love, cripples 
even natural affection ; without esteem, 
true love cannot exist." 

William raised his head with an 
air of proud defiance. " And in what 
sense," he asked, " do such words apply 
to me ? " 

" You are strangely obtuse," I said. 
" You see no trace of yourself in that 
passage, no trace of meanness in the 
man who cast off the penniless orphan, 
with her whole heart full of love for him, 
yet pleads so warmly with the rich heir- 
ess, when he knows she is pledged to 
another ? " 

" You have said enough, Juanita," 

he replied, with concentrated passion. 

"This is too much to bear, even from 

^you, from whom I have already endured 



so much. You know you do not be- 
lieve it." 

" 1 do believe it," was my firm reply. 
It was false, but what did I care ? It 
served my purpose. 

" I might bid you remember," he said, 
" how I urged you to be mine when my 
prospects had grown brighter, and you 
were poor as before. I might appeal to 
the manner in which my suit has been 
urged for years, as a proof of my inno- 
cence of this charge that you have brought 
against me. But I disdain to plead my 
cause with so unwomanly a heart, that 
measures the baseness of others by what 
it knows of its own." 

He went, and for a time I was left in 
doubt whether my victory had been real- 
ly achieved. Then I thought it all over, 
and was reassured. He could not simu- 
late those looks and tones, no, nor that 
tumult of feeling which had made his 
heart throb so wildly beneath my hand. 
He loved me, that was certain ; and no 
matter how great his anger or his indig- 
nation, my refusal must have cut him to 
the soul. And the charge I had made 
would rankle, too. These thoughts were 
my comfort when John told me, with 
grief and surprise, that his brother had 
joined the Arctic expedition under Dr. 
Kane. I knew it was for no light cause 
he would forsake the career just opening 
so brightly before him. 

John and I were married in December, 
as had been our intention. We led a 
quiet, but to him a happy, life. He often 
wondered at my content with home and 
its seclusion, and owned what fears he 
had felt, before our marriage, lest I, accus- 
tomed to gayety and excitement, should 
weary of him, the thoughtful, book-loving 
man. It seemed he had made up his 
mind to all manner of self-sacrifice in 
the way of accompanying me to parties, 
and having guests at our own house. 
I did not exact much from him ; I cared 
little for the gay world in which William 
no longer moved. I read with John his 
favorite books ; I interested myself in the 
sciences which he pursued with such en- 
thusiasm. It was no part of my plan to 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



29 



inflict unnecessary misery on any one, 
and I strove with all my power to make 
happy the man whom I had chosen. I 
succeeded fully ; and when we sat on the 
piazza in the moonlight, my head resting 
on his shoulder, my hand clasped in his, 
he would tell me how infinitely dearer 
the wife had grown to be than even the 
lover's fancy had portrayed her. 

And my thoughts were far away from 
the bland airs and brightening moon 
amid the frozen solitudes of the North. 
Where was William? what was he do- 
ing ? did he think of me ? and how ? 
What if he should perish there, and we 
should never meet again ? Life grew 
blank at the thought ; I put it resolutely 
away. 

I had drunk of the cup of vengeance ; 
it was sweet, but did not satisfy. I 
longed for a fuller draught ; but might it 
not be denied to my fevered lips ? Per- 
haps, amid the noble and disinterested 
toils of the expedition, his heart would 
outgrow all love for me, and when we 
met again I should see my power was 
gone. I pondered much on this ; I be- 
lieved at last that the solitude, the isola- 
tion, would be not unpropitious to me. 
From the little world of the ice-locked 
vessel his thoughts would turn to the 
greater world he had left, and I should 
be remembered. When he returned we 
should be much together. His mother 
was dead ; our house was the only place 
he could call his home. Not even for 
me, I felt assured, would he cast off the 
love of his only brother. I had not done 
with him yet So quietly and composed- 
ly I awaited his return. 

He came at last, and his manner when 
we met smote me with a strange uneasi- 
ness. It was not the estrangement of a 
friend whom I had injured, but the dis- 
tant politeness of a stranger. Was my 
influence gone ? I determined to know, 
once for all. When we chanced to be 
alone a moment I went to his side. 
" William," I asked, laying my hand on 
his arm, and speaking in a tender, re- 
proachful tone, " why do you treat me 

80?" 



With a quick, decided motion, he re- 
moved my hand, then looked down on 
me with a smile. " ' You are strangely 
obtuse,' " he said, quoting my own words 
of two years before. " What can Mrs. 
Haughton desire from a base fortune- 
hunter with whom she is unhappily con- 
nected by marriage, but a humility that 
does not presume on the relationship ? " 

I saw a bold stroke was needed, and 
that I must stoop to conquer. " Oh, Wil- 
liam," I said, sorrowfully, " you called me 
vindictive once, but it is you who are 
really so. I was unhappy, harassed, dis- 
tracted between" 

" Between what ? " 

" I do not know I mean I cannot tell 
you," I stammered, with well-feigned con- 
fusion. " Can you not forgive me, Wil- 
liam ? Often and often, since you left me 
that day, I have wished to see you, and 
to tell you how I repented my hasty and 
ungenerous words. Will you not pardon 
me ? Shall we not be friends again ? " 

" I am not vindictive," he said, more 
kindly, " least of all toward you. But I 
cannot see how you should desire the 
friendship of one whom you regard as 
a mercenary hypocrite. When you can 
truthfully assure me that you disbelieve 
that charge, then, and not till then, will I 
forgive you and be your friend." 

" Let it be now, then," I said, joyfully, 
holding out my hand. He did not reject 
it ; we were reconciled. 

William had come home ill ; the hard- 
ships of the expedition and the fearful 
cold of the Arctic Zone had been too 
much for him. The very night of his re- 
turn I noticed in his countenance a fre- 
quent flush succeeded by a deadly pallor ; 
my quick ear had caught, too, the sound 
of a cough, not frequent or prolonged, 
but deep and hollow. And now, for the 
first time in my long and dreary toil, I saw 
the path clear and the end in view. 

Every one knows with what enthusi- 
asm the returned travellers were hailed. 
Amid the felicitations, the praises, the 
banquets, the varied excitements of the 
time, William forgot hia ill-health. When 
these were over, he reopened his office, 



30 



Juanita. 



[January, 



and prepared to enter once more on the 
active duties of his profession. But he 
was unfit for it ; John and I both saw 
this, and urged him to abandon the at- 
tempt for the present, to stay with us, to 
enjoy rest, books, society, and not till his 
health was fully reestablished undertake 
the prosecution of business. 

" You forget, my good sister," he laugh- 
ingly said to me one day, (he could 
jest on the subject now,) " that I have 
not the fortune of our John, I did not 
marry an heiress, and I have my own 
way to make. I had got up a few rounds 
of the ladder when an adverse fate 
dragged me down. Being a free man 
once more, I must struggle up again as 
quickly as may be." 

" Oh, for that matter," I returned, in 
the same tone, " I had some part, per- 
haps, in the adverse fate you speak of; 
so it is but fair that I should make you 
what recompense I can. I am an admi- 
rable nurse ; and you will gain time, if 
you will deliver yourself up to my care, 
and not go back to Coke and Chitty till I 
give you leave. Seriously, William, I 
fear you do not know how ill you are, 
and how unsafe it is for you to go on with 
business." 

He yielded without much persuasion, 
and came home to us. Those were hap- 
py days. William and I were constantly 
together. I read to him, I sung to him, 
and played chess with him ; on mild days 
I drove him out in my own little pony- 
carnage. Did he love me all this time ? 
I could not tell. Never by look or tone 
did he intimate that the old affection yet 
lived in his heart. I fancied he felt as I 
with him, perfect content in my compan- 
ionship, without a thought or wish beyond. 
We were made for each other ; our tastes, 
our habits of mind and feeling, fully har- 
monized ; had we been born brother and 
sister, we should have preferred each oth- 
er to all the world, and, remaining single 
for each other's sakes, have passed our 
lives together. 

So the time wore on, sweetly and plac- 
idly, and only I seemed to notice the 
N failure in our invalid ; but I watched for 



it too keenly, too closely, to be blinded. 
The occasional rallies of strength that 
gave John such hope, and cheered Wil- 
liam himself so greatly, did not deceive 
me ; I knew they were but the fluctua- 
tions of his malady. Changes in the 
weather, or a damp east wind, did not 
account to me for his relapses ; I knew he 
was in the grasp of a fell, a fatal disease ; 
it might let him go awhile, give him a 
little respite, as a cat does the mouse she 
has caught, but he never could escape, 
his doom was fixed. 

But you may be sure I gave him no 
hint of it, and he never seemed to sus- 
pect it for himself. One could not be- 
lieve such blindness possible, did we not 
see it verified in so many instances, year 
after year. 

Often, now, I thought of a passage in 
an old book I used to read with many a 
heart-quake in my girlish days. It ran 
thus : " Perhaps we may see you flatter- 
ing yourself, through a long, lingering 
illness, that you shall still recover, and 
putting off any serious reflection and 
conversation - for fear it should overset 
your spirits. And the cruel kindness of 
friends and physicians, as if they were 
in league with Satan to make the de- 
struction of your soul as sure as possible, 
may, perhaps, abet this fatal deceit" 
We had all the needed accessories : the 
kind physician, anxious to .amuse and 
fearful to alarm his patient, telling me 
always to keep up his spirits, to make 
him as cheerful and happy as I could ; 
and the cruel friends I had not far to 
seek for them. 

For a time William came down-stairs 
every morning, and sat up during the 
greater part of the day. Then he took 
to lying on the sofa for hours together. 
At last, he did not rise till afternoon, and 
even then Avas too much fatigued to sit 
up long. I prepared for his use a large 
room on the south side of the house, with 
a smaller apartment within it ; to this we 
carried his favorite books and pictures, 
his easy-chair and lounge. My piano 
stood in a recess ; a guitar hung near it. 
When all was finished, it looked home- 



1859.] 



Juanita. 



31 



like, pleasant ; and we removed William 
to it, one mild February day. 

" This is a delightful room," he said, 
gazing about him. " How pleasant the 
view from these windows will be as spring 
comes on ! " 

" You will not need it," I said, " by 
that time." 

" I should be glad, if it were so," he re- 
plied; "but I am not quite so sanguine 
as you are, Juanita." 

He did not guess my meaning; how 
should he, amused, flattered, kept along 
as he had been ? To him, life, with 
all its activities, its prizes, its pleasures, 
seemed but a little way removed ; a few 
weeks or months and he should be among 
them again. But I knew, when he en- 
tered that room, that he never would go 
forth again till he was borne where nar- 
rower walls and a lowlier roof should shut 
him in. 

I had an alarm one day. " Juanita," 
said the invalid, when I had arranged 
his pillows comfortably, and was about to 
begin the morning's reading, "do not take 
the book we had yesterday. I wish you 
would read to me in the Bible." 

What did this mean ? Was this proud, 
worldly-minded man going to humble 
himself, and repent, and be forgiven ? 
And was I to be defrauded thus of my 
just revenge ? Should he pass away to 
an eternal life of holiness and joy, while 
I, stained through him and for his sake 
with sins innumerable, sank ever lower 
and lower in unending misery and de- 
spair ? Oh, I must stop this, if it were 
not yet too late. 

" What ! " I said, pretending to repress 
a smile, " are you getting alarmed about 
yourself, William ? Or is Saul really 
going to be found among the prophets, 
after all ? " 

He colored, but made no reply. I 
opened the Bible and read two or three 
of the shorter IVahns, then, from the 
New Testament, a portion of the Sermon 
on the Mount. 

" It must have been very sweet," I 
observed, " for those who were able to 
receive Jesus as the true Messiah, and 



his teachings as infallible, to hear these 
words from his lips." 

" And do you not so receive them ? " 
William asked. 

" We will not speak of that ; my opin- 
ion is of no weight." 

" But you must have thought much of 
these things," he persisted ; " tell me what 
result you have arrived at." 

" Candidly, then," I said, " I have read 
and pondered much on what this book 
contains. It seems to me, that, if it teach- 
es anything, it clearly teaches, that, no 
matter how we flatter ourselves that we 
are doing as we choose, and carrying out 
our own designs and wishes, we are all 
the time only fulfilling purposes that have 
been fixed from all eternity. Since, then, 
we are the subjects of an Inexorable Will, 
which no entreaties or acts of ours can 
alter or propitiate, what is there for us to 
do but simply to bear as best we can 
what comes upon us ? It is a short 
creed." 

" And a gloomy one," he said. 

" You are right ; a very gloomy one. 
If you can rationally adopt a cheerfuller, 
pray, do it. I do not wish for any com- 
panion in mine." 

There was silence for a time, and 
then I said, with affectionate earnestness, 
"Dear William, why trouble yourself 
with these things in your weak and ex- 
hausted state ? Surely, the care of your 
health is enough for you now. By-and- 
by, when you have in some measure re- 
gained your strength, look seriously into 
this subject, if you wish. It is an im- 
portant one for all. I am afraid I gave 
you an overdose of anodyne hist night, 
and am to blame for your low spirits of 
this morning. Own, William," I said, 
smilingly, "that you were terribly hyp- 
ped, and fancied you never could re- 
cover." 

He looked relieved as I spoke thus 
lightly. " I should find it sad to die," he 
said " Life looks bright to me even 
yet." 

This m&n was a coward. He dreaded 
that struggle, that humiliation of spirit, 
through which all must pass ere peace 



32 



Juanita. 



"^January, 



with Heaven is achieved. Yet more, per- 
haps, he dreaded that deeper struggle 
which ensues when we essay to tear Self 
from its throne in the heart, and place 
God thereon. As he said, life looked 
bright to him ; and all his plans and pur- 
poses in life were for himself, his own ad- 
vancement, his own well-being. It would 
have been hard to make the change ; and 
he thought it was not necessary now, at 
least. 

No more was said upon the subject. 
Our days went on as before. There was 
a little music, some light reading, an 
occasional call from a friend, and long 
pauses of rest between all these. And 
slowly, but surely, life failed, and the soul 
drew near its doom. 

I knew now that he loved me still ; he 
talked of it sometimes when he woke 
suddenly, and did not at once remember 
where he was ; I saw it, too, in his look, 
his manner ; but we never breathed it to 
each other, and he did not think I knew. 

One night there was a great change ; 
physicians were summoned in haste ; 
there were hours of anxious watching. 
Toward morning he seemed a little bet- 
ter, and I was left alone with liim. He 
slumbered quietly, but when he awoke 
there was a strange and solemn look in 
his face, such as I had never seen before. 
I knew what it must mean. 

" When Dr. Hammond comes, let me 
see him alone," he whispered. 

I made no objection ; nothing could 
frustrate my purpose now. 

The physician came, a kind old man, 
who had known us all from infancy. He 
was closeted awhile with William ; then 
he came out, looking deeply moved. 

" Go to him, comfort him, if you can," 
he said. 

" You have told him ? " I asked. 

" Yes, he insisted upon hearing the 
truth, and I knew he had got where it 
could make no difference. Poor fellow ! 
it was a terrible blow." 

I wanted a few moments for reflection ; 
I sent John in my stead. I locked my- 
self in my own room, and tried to get the 
full weight of what I was going to do. I 



was about to meet him who had rejected 
my heart's best love, no longer in the 
flush and insolence of health and strength, 
but doomed, dying, with a dark, hope- 
less eternity stretching out before his 
shuddering gaze. And when he turned 
to me in those last awful moments for 
solace and affection, I was to tell him 
that the girl he loved, the woman he 
adored, had since that one night kept the 
purpose of vengeance hot in her heart, 
that for years her sole study had been 
to baffle and to wound him, and that 
now, through all those months that she 
had been beside him, that he had looked 
to her as friend, helper, comforter, she 
had kept her deadly aim in view. She 
had deceived him with false hopes of 
recovery ; she had turned again to the 
world the thoughts which he would fain 
have fixed on heaven ; while he was 
loving her, she had hated him. She had 
darkened his life ; she had ruined his soul. 

Oh, was not this a revenge worthy of 
the name ? 

I went to him. lie was sitting in the 
great easy-chair, propped with pillows ; 
John had left the room, overcome by his 
feelings. Never shall I forget that face, 
the despair of those eyes. 

I sat down by him and took his hand. 

" The Doctor has told you ? " I mur- 
mured. 

"Yes, and what is this world which 
I so soon must enter? I believe too 
much to have one moment's peace in 
view of what is coming. Oh, why did I 
not believe more before it was too late ? " 

I kept silence a few minutes ; then I 
said, 

" Listen, Wiliain, I have something 
to tell you." 

He looked eagerly toward me; per- 
haps he thought even then, poor dupe, 
that it was some word of hope, that there 
was some chance for his recovery. 

Then I told him all, all, my lifelong 
hatred, my cherished purpose. Blank 
amazement was in the gaze that he turn- 
ed upon me. I feared that impending 
death had blunted his senses, and that 
he did not fully comprehend. 



J859.] 



Left Behind. 



33 



" You will remember now what I once 
told you," I cried, with savage joy ; " for 
so surely as there is another world, in 
that world shall you live, and live to suf- 
fer, and to remember in your anguish 
why you suffer, and to whose hand you 
owe it." 

He understood well enough now. 
" Fiend ! " he exclaimed, with a look of 
horror, and started to his feet The ef- 
fort, the emotion, were too much. Blood 
gushed from his lips ; a frightful spasm 
convulsed his features ; he fell back ; he 
was gone ! 

Yes, he was gone ! And my life's 
work was complete ! 

I cannot tell what happened after that. 
I suppose they must have found him, and 
laid him out, and buried him ; but I re- 
member nothing of it. Since then I have 
lived in this great, gloomy house, with its 
barred doors and windows. Never since I 
came here have I seen a face that I knew. 
Maniacs are all about me ; I meet them 
in the halls, the gardens ; sometimes I 
hear the fiercer sort raving and dashing 
about their cells. But I do not feel afraid 
of them. 

It is strange how they all fancy that 



the rest are mad, and they the only sane 
ones. Some of them even go so far as to 
think that / have lost my reason. I heard 
one woman say, not long ago, " Why, 
she has been mad these twenty years ! 
She never was married in her life ; but 
she believes all these things as if they 
were really so, and tells them over to 
anybody who will listen to her." 

Mad these twenty years ! So young 
as I am, too ! And I never married, 
and all my wrongs a maniac's raving! 
I was angry at first, and would have 
struck her ; then I thought, " Poor thing ! 
Why should I care ? She does not know 
what she is saying." 

And I go about, seeing always before 
me" that pallid, horror-stricken face ; and 
wishing sometimes oh, how vainly! 
that I had listened to him that bright 
October day, that I had been a happy 
wife, perchance a happy mother. But 
no, no ! I must not think thus. Once I 
look at it in that way, my whole life be- 
comes a terror, a remorse. I will not, 
must not, have it so. 

Then let me rejoice again, for I have 
had my revenge, a great, a glorious re- 
venge 1 



VOL. III. 



LEFT BEHIND. 

IT was the autumn of the year ; 

The strawberry-leaves were red and sere ; 

October's airs were fresh and chill, 

When, pausing on the windy hill, 

The hill that overlooks the sea, 

You talked confidingly to me, 

Me, whom your keen artistic sight 

Has not yet learned to read aright, 

Since I have veiled my heart from you, 

And loved you better than you knew. 

You told me of your toilsome past, 
The tardy honors won at last, 
The trials borne, the conquests gained, 
The longed-for boon of Fame attained : 
3 



34 Left Behind. [January, 

I knew that every victory 
But lifted you away from me, 
, That every step of high emprise 
But left me lowlier in your eyes ; 
I watched the distance as it grew, 
And loved you better than you knew. 

You did not see the bitter trace 
Of anguish sweep across my face ; 
You did not hear my proud heart beat 
Heavy and slow beneath your feet ; 
You thought of triumphs still unwon, 
Of glorious deeds as yet undone ; 
And I, the while you talked to me, 
I watched the gulls float lonesomely 
Till lost amid the hungry blue, 
And loved you better than you knew. 

You walk the sunny side of Fate ; 
The wise world smiles, and calls you great ; 
The golden fruitage of success 
Drops at your feet in plenteousness ; 
And you have blessings manifold, 
Renown, and power, and friends, and gold ; 
They build a wall between us twain 
Which may not be thrown down again ; 
Alas ! for I, the long years through; 
Have loved you better than you knew. 

Your life's proud aim, your a^t's high truth 
Have kept the promise of your youth ; 
And while you won the crown which now 
Breaks into bloom upon your brow, 
My soul cried strongly out to you 
Across the ocean's yearning blue, 
While, unremembered and afar, 
I watched you, as I watch a star 
Through darkness struggling into view, 
And loved you better than you knew. 

I used to dream, in all these years, 

Of patient faith and silent tears, 

That Love's strong hand would put aside 

The barriers of place and pride, 

Would reach the pathless darkness through, 

And draw me softly up to you. 

But that is past. If you should stray 

Beside my grave, some future day, 

Perchance the violets o'er my dust 

Will half betray their buried trust, 

And say, their blue eyes full of dew, 

" She loved you better than you knew." 



1859.] 



Coffee and Tea. 



35 



COFFEE AND TEA. 



FACTS, and figures representing facts, 
are recognized as stubborn adversaries 
when arrayed singly in an argument ; in 
aggregate, and in generalizations drawn 
from aggregates, they are often unan- 
swerable. 

To the nervous reader it may seem a 
startling, and to the reformatory one a 
melancholy fact, that every soul in these 
United States has provided for him an- 
nually, and actually consumes, personal- 
ly or by proxy, between six and seven 
pounds of coffee, and a pound of tea ; 
while in Great Britain enough of these 
two luxuries is imported and drunk to 
furnish every inhabitant, patrician or 
pauper, with over a pound of the former, 
and two of the latter. 

Coffee was brought to Western Eu- 
rope, by way of Marseilles, in 1644, and 
made its first appearance in London 
about 1652. In 1853, the estimated con- 
sumption of coffee in Great Britain, ac- 
cording to official returns, was thirty-five 
million pounds, and in the United States, 
one hundred and seventy-five million 
pounds, a year. 

Tea, in like manner, from its first im- 
portation into England by the Dutch 
East India Company, early in the seven- 
teenth century, and from a consumption 
indicated by its price, being sixty shil- 
lings a pound, has proportionately in- 
creased in national use, until, in 1854, 
the United States imported and retained 
for home consumption twenty-five mil- 
lion pounds, and England fifty-eight mil- 
lion pounds. 

Two centuries have witnessed this al- 
most incredible advance. The consump- 
tion of coffee alone has increased, in the 
past twenty-five years, at the rate of four 
per cent, per annum, throughout the 
world. 

We pay annually for coffee fifteen 
millions of dollars, and for tea seven mil- 
lions. T\vt>ntv-two millions of dollars for 



articles which are popularly accounted 
neither fuel, nor clothing, nor food ! 

" What a waste ! " cries the reformer ; 
" nearly a dollar apiece, from every man, 
woman, and child throughout the coun- 
try, spent on .two useless luxuries ! " 

Is it a waste ? Is it possible that we 
throw all this away, year after year, in 
idle stimulation or sedation ? 

It is but too true, that the instinct, lead- 
ing to the use of some form of stimulant, 
appears to be universal in the human 
race. We call it an instinct, since all 
men naturally search for stimulants, sep- 
arately, independently, and unceasingly, 
because use renders their demands as 
imperious as are those for food. 

Next to alcohol and tobacco, coffee 
and tea have supplied more of the need- 
ed excitement to mankind than any oth- 
er stimulants; and, taking the female sex 
into the account, they stand far above the 
two former substances in the ratio of the 
numbers who use them. 

In Turkey coffee is regarded as the es- 
sence of hospitality and the balm of life. 
In China not only is tea the national bev- 
erage, but a large part of the agricultu- 
ral and laboring interest of the country 
is engaged in its cultivation. Russia fol- 
lows next in the almost universal use of 
tea, as would naturally result from its 
proximity and the common origin of a 
lar'ge part of its population. Western 
Europe employs both coffee and ten 
largely, while France almost confines it- 
self to the former. The cafe's are more 
numerous, and have a more important 
social bearing, than any other establish- 
ments in the cities of France. Great 
Britain uses more tea than coffee. The 
former beverage is there thought indis- 
pensable by all classes. The poor dine 
on half a loaf rather than lose their cup 
of tea ; just as the French peasant re- 
gards his (lemi-bouteille of Vin Bleu as 
the most important part of his meal. 



36 



Cojfce and Tea. 



[Japuary, 



To a first roused the rebellion of these 
AmiM-ican Colonies ; and tea made many 
a halt' Tory among the elderly ladies of 
the Revolution. It has, indeed, been re- 
garded, and humorously described by the 
senior Weller, as the indispensable com- 
forter and friend of advanced female life. 
Dr. Johnson was as noted for his fond- 
ness for tea as for his other excesses at 
the table. Many sober minds make cof- 
fee and tea the vis a tergo of their daily 
intellectual labor ; just as a few of great- 
er imagination or genius seek in opium 
the spur of their ephemeral efforts. In 
the United States, the young imbibe 
them from their youth up ; and it is quite 
as possible that a part of the nation's 
nervousness may arise from this cause, 
as it is probable that our wide-spread 
dyspepsia begins in the use of badly- 
oooked solid, food, immediately on the 
completion of the first dentition. 

All over this country we drink coffee 
and tea, morning and night ; at least, the 
majority of us do. They are expensive ; 
their palpable results to the senses are 
fleeting ; they are reported innutritions ; 
nay, far worse, they are decried as posi- 
tively unwholesome. Yet we still use 
them, and no one has succeeded in lead- 
ing a crusade against them at all com- 
parable with the onslaughts on other 
stimulants, made in these temperance 
days. The fair sex raises its voice 
against tobacco and other masculine 
sedatives, but clings pertinaciously to 
this delusion. 

It becomes, then, an important ques- 
tion to decide whether the choice of civ- 
ilization is justified by experience or sci- 
ence, and whether some effect on the 
animal economy, ulterior to a merely 
soothing or stimulant action, can be 
found to sanction the use of coffee and 
tea. And this is a question in so far 
differing from that of other stimulants, 
that it is not to be discussed with the 
moralist, but solely with the economist 
and the sanitarian. 

More even than us, economically, does 
it concern the overcrowded and limited 
states of Europe, where labor is cheap, 



and the necessaries of life absorb all the 
efforts, to decide whether so much of the 
earnings of the poor is annually thrown 
away in idle stimulation. 

It concerns us in a sanitary point of 
view, more than in any other way, and 
more than any other people. We are 
rich, spare in habit, and of untiring in- 
dustry. We can afford luxurious indul- 
gences, we are very susceptible to ner- 
vous stimuli, and we overwork. 

Our national habit is feeble. Debility 
is recognized as the prevailing type of 
our diseases. Nervous exhaustion is met 
by recourse to all kinds of stimulation. 
We are apt to think coffee and tea as 
harmless, or rather as slow in their dele- 
terious action, as any. Are they nothing 
more ? 

As debility marks the degeneration of 
our physical constitution, so does a mor- 
bid sensitiveness at all earthly indul- 
gence, a tendency to reform things inno- 
cent, although useless, betray the weak- 
ness of the moral health of our day. An 
ascetic spirit is abroad ; our amateur 
physiologists look rather to a mortifica- 
tion than an honest building-up of the 
flesh. They prefer naked muscle to 
rounded outline, and seek rather to test 
than to enjoy their bodies. Fearing to 
be Epicureans, they become Spartans, 
as far as their feebler organizations will 
allow them, and very successful Stoics, 
by the aid of Saxon will. By a faulty 
logic, things which in excess are hurtful 
are denied a moderate use. Habits in- 
nocent in themselves are to be cast aside, 
lest they induce others which are injuri- 
ous. 

There is but little danger that Puritan 
antecedents and a New England climate 
should tend to idle indulgence or Epi- 
curean sloth. We think there is a ten- 
dency to reform too far. We confess our 
preference for the physique of Apollo to 
that of Hercules. We acknowledge an 
amiable weakness for those bounties of 
Nature which soothe or comfort us or 
renew our nervous energy, and which, 
we think, injure us no more than our 
daily bread, if not immoderately used. 



1859.] 



Coffee and Tea. 



Science almost always finds some foun- 
dation in fact for popular prejudices. For 
years, men have continued wasting their 
substance on coffee and tea, insisting that 
they strengthened as well as comforted 
them, in spite of the warnings of the 
sanitarian, who looked on them solely as 
stimulants or sedatives, and of the econo- 
mist, who bewailed their extravagant cost. 

Physiology, relying on organic chemis- 
try, has at least justified by experiment 
the choice of the civilized world. Coffee 
and tea had been regarded by the physi- 
ologist and the physician as stimulants of 
the nervous system, and to a less extent 
and secondarily of the circulation, and 
that was all. To fulfil this object, and to 
answer the endless craving for habitual 
excitants of the cerebral functions, they 
had been admitted reluctantly to the diet 
of their patients, rather as necessary evils 
than as positive goods. It was reserved 
for the all-searching German mind to 
discover their better qualities ; and it is 
only within the last five years, that the 
self-sacrificing experiments of Dr. Bbcker 
of Bonn, and of Dr. Julius Lehmann, 
have raised them to their proper place 
in dietetics, as " Accessory Foods." This 
term, which we borrow from the remark- 
able work on " Digestion and its De- 
rangements," by Dr. Thc-mas K. Cham- 
bers, of London, is only the slightest of 
the many obligations which we hasten 
to acknowledge ourselves under to this 
author, as will appear from citations in 
the course of this article. 

The labors of earlier physiologists and 
chemists, as Carpenter, Liebig, and Pa- 
get, had resulted in the classification of 
nutritive substances under different heads, 
according to the purposes they served in 
the physical economy. Perhaps the most 
convenient, though not an unexception- 
able division, is into the Saccharine, 
Oleaginous, Albuminous, and Gelatinous 
groups. The first includes those sub- 
stances analogous in composition to sug- 
ar, being chemically composed of hy- 
drogen, carbon, and oxygen. Such are 
starch, gum, cellulose, and so forth, which 
are almost identical in their ultimate 



composition, and admit of ready conver- 
sion into sugar by a simple process of 
vital chemistry. The oleaginous group 
comprises all oily matters, which are 
even purer hydro-carbons than the first- 
mentioned class. The third, or albumin- 
ous group, includes all substances close- 
ly allied to albumen, and hence contain- 
ing a large proportion of nitrogen in 
addition to the other three elements. 
The last group consists also of nitrogen- 
ized substances, which resemble gelatine 
in many of their characteristics. The 
first two groups are called non-azotized, 
as they contain no nitrogen ; the last 
two, azotized, containing nitrogen. " All 
articles of food that are to be employed 
in the production of heat must contain 
a larger proportion of hydrogen than is 
sufficient to form water with the oxy- 
gen that they contain, and none are ap- 
propriate for the maintenance of any 
tissues (except the adipose) unless they 
contain nitrogen." Hence the obvious 
restriction of the first two classes to the 
heat-producing function, and of the last 
two (or azotized) to the reparation of 
the tissues. 

We have, then, the two natural divis- 
ions of calorifacient and plastic foods : 
the one adapted to sustain the heat of 
the body, and enable us to maintain a 
temperature independent of that of the 
medium we may be in ; the other to build 
up, repair, and preserve in their natu- 
ral proportions the various tissues, as the 
muscular, fibrous, osseous, or nervous, 
which compose our frames. These two 
kinds of food we must have in due pro- 
portion and quantity in order to live. 
Neither the animal nor the vegetable 
kingdom furnishes the one to the exclu- 
sion of the other. We derive our sup- 
plies of each from both. More than this, 
we consume and appropriate certain in- 
cidental elements, which find their place 
and use in the healthy system. Iron 
floats in our blood, sulphur lies hidden 
in the hair and nails, phosphorus scintil- 
lates unseen in the brain, lime compacts 
our bones, and fluorine sets the enamel- 
led edges of our teeth. At least one-third 



Coffee and Tea. 



[January, 



of all the known chemical elements ex- 
ist in some part of the human economy, 
and are taken into the stomach hidden in 
our various articles of food. This would 
seem enough for Nature's requirements. 
It is enough for all the brute creation. 
As men, and as thinkers, we need some- 
thing more. 

In all the lower orders of creation the 
normal state is preserved. Health is the 
rule, and sickness the rare exception. 
Demand and supply are exactly balanc- 
ed. The contraction of the voluntary 
muscles, and the expenditure of nervous 
power consequent on locomotion, the 
temperate use of the five senses, and the 
quiet, regular performance of the great 
organic processes, limit the life and the 
waste of the creature. But when the 
brain expands in the dome-like cranium 
of the human being, a new and inces- 
sant call is made on the reparative forces. 
The nervous system has its demands in- 
creased a hundred-fold. We think, and 
we exhaust ; we scheme, imagine, study, 
worry, and enjoy, and proportionately 
we waste. 

In the rude and primitive nations this 
holds good much less than among civil- 
ized people. Yet even among them, the 
faculties whose possession involves this 
loss have been ever exercised to repair 
it by artificial means. In the busy life 
of to-day how much more is this the case ! 
Overworked brains and stomachs, under- 
worked muscles and limbs, soon derange 
the balance of supply and demand. We 
waste faster than enfeebled digestion can 
well repair. We feel always a little de- 
pressed ; we restore the equilibrium tem- 
porarily by stimulation, some with alco- 
hol and tobacco, others with coflee and tea. 

Now it is to these last means of sup- 
ply that the name has been given of " ac- 
cessory foods." 

" Accessories are those by whose use 
the moulting and renewing (that is, the 
metamorphosis) of the organic structures 
are modified, so as best to accommodate 
themselves to required circumstances. 
They may be subdivided into those which 
^arrest and those which increase metamor- 



phosis." It is under the former class that 
are placed alcohol, sugar, coffee, and tea. 

Again, says Dr. Chambers, " Not sat- 
isfied with the bare necessaries," (the 
common varieties of plastic and calorifa- 
cient food,) " we find that our species 
chiefly are inclined by a soi-disant in- 
stinct to feed on a variety of articles the 
use of which cannot be explained as 
above ; they cannot be refound in the 
organism ; they cannot, apparently, with- 
out complete disorganization, be employ- 
ed to build up the body. These may 
be considered as extra diet, or called 

accessory foods These are what 

man does not want, if the protracting 
from day to day his residence on earth 
be the sole object of his feeding. He 
could live without them, grow without 
them, think, after a fashion, without them. 
A baby does. Would he be wise to try 
and imitate it ? 

" Thus, there is no question but that 
easily assimilable brown meat is the 
proper food for those whose muscular 
system is subjected to the waste arising 
from hard exercise ; and if plenty of it is 
to be got, and the digestive organs are in 
sufficiently good order to absorb enough 
to supply the demand, it completely cov- 
ers the deficiency. Water, under these 
circumstances, is the best drink ; and a 
' total abstainer,' with plenty of fresh 
meat, strong exercise, and a vigorous 
digestion, will probably equal anybody 
in muscular development. But should 
the digestion not be in such a typical 
condition, should the exercise be over- 
severe and the victuals deficient, then the 
waste must be limited by some arrester 
of metamorphosis ; if it is not, the system 
suffers, and the man is what is called 
'overworked.' .... Intellectual labor 
also exercises the demand for food, and at 
the same time, unfortunately, injures the 
assimilating organs ; so that, unless a ju- 
dicious diet is employed, waste occurs 
which cannot be replaced." 

Waste, we may be told, is life, and 
the rapidity of change marks the activ- 
ity of the vital processes. True, if each 
particle consumed is at once and ade- 



1859.] 



Coffee and Tea. 



39 



quately replaced. Beyond that point, 
let the balance once tend to over-con- 
sumption, and we approach the confines 
of decay. Birds live more and faster 
than men, and insects probably most of 
all ; yet many of the latter are ephemeral. 

Every-day experience had long point- 
ed to the recurring coincidence, that, 
of the annual victims of pulmonary con- 
sumption, few were to be found among 
the habitual consumers of ardent spirits. 
Science volunteered the explanation, that 
alcohol supplied a hydro-carbonaceous 
nutriment similar to that furnished by 
the cod-liver oil, which, serving as fuel, 
spared the wasting of the tissues, just in 
proportion to its own consumption and 
assimilation. Other aid it was supposed 
to lend, by stimulating the function of 
nutrition to renewed energy. Later in- 
vestigations have proved that it exercises 
a yet more important influence as an ar- 
rester of metamorphosis. It was on arriv- 
ing at this conclusion, that Dr. Bocker was 
led to institute a series of careful experi- 
ments to determine the influence of water 
on the physical economy, and the real 
value of salt, sugar, coffee, tea, and other 
condiments, as articles of food. " The 
experimenter appears to have used the 
utmost precision, and details so conscien- 
tiously the mode adopted of making his 
estimates, that additional knowledge may 
perhaps alter the conclusions drawn, but 
can never diminish the value of the ex- 
periments." They are not open to the 
objections of mistaken sensations, and 
honest, though ludicrous, misapprehension 
of fallible symptoms, to which the testing 
of drugs homceopathically is liable, and 
of which another instance has just occur- 
red in London, in the "proving" of the 
new medicinal agent, gonoine. They 
rather resemble in accuracy a quantita- 
tive, as well as a qualitative, analysis. 
We will cite first the experiments on tea, 
and quote from the interesting narrative 
of Dr. Chambers.* 

" After Dr. Bocker had determined by 
some preliminary trials what quantity of 
food and drink was just enough to satiate 
his appetite without causing loss of weight 



to his body, that is to say, was sufficient 
to cover exactly the necessary outgoings 
of the organism, he proceeded to special 
experiments, in which, during periods of 
twenty-four hours, he took the amount of 
victuals ascertained by the former trials. 

" The first set of the first series of ex- 
periments consists of seven observations, 
of twenty-four hours' duration each, in 
the months of July and August, with 
three barely sufficient meals per diem, in 
quantities as nearly equal each day as 
could be managed, and only spring-water 
to drink. The second set comprises the 
same number of observations in August, 
September, and October, under similar 
circumstances, except that infusion of tea, 
drunk cold, was taken instead of plain 
water. 

" Each day there are carefully record- 
ed " qualitative and quantitative analys- 
es of the excretions, estimates of " the 
amount of insensible perspiration, and of 
expired carbonic acid, the quickness of 
respiration, the beats of the pulse, to- 
gether with accurate notes of the dura- 
tion of bodily exercise in the open air, 
the loss of weight of the whole body, the 
general feelings, and the circumstances, 
thermometric, barometric, and meteoric, 
under which the observations are taken. 

" A second series of seventeen experi- 
ments of equal duration were made, and 
at a different time of year, so as to an- 
swer the question, which might arise, as 
to whether the season made any differ- 
ence." 

In these experiments similar observa- 
tions and records are made as previously, 
" under the three following circumstances, 
namely : while taking tea as an ordinary 
drink, on the days immediately following 
the leaving it off, and on other days when 
it was not taken." 

" A third series, of four experiments, 
was also made during four fasts of thirty- 
six hours each, two with water only, 
and two with tea to drink. 

" In the following particulars, all the 
three series so entirely coincide, that the 
conclusions will be set down as general 
deductions from the whole. 



9 

V- 



40 



" Tea, in ordinary doses, has not any 
effect on the amount of carbonic acid ex- 
pired, the frequency of the respirations, 
or of the pulse." 

Obviously, then, it is not with reference 
to the heat-producing function that we 
can look upon tea as in any sense a nu- 
triment ; and if it causes no saving of 
carbon, its effects must be sought in 
checking some other waste, or in the less 
consumption of nitrogen. The pulse, and 
hence the respiration, are unaltered ; for 
the two great processes of circulation and 
aeration of the blood are interdependent 
functions, and have, in health, a definite 
ratio of activity one with the other. As 
a nervous stimulant, tea in excess will, 
as we all know, produce an exaltation 
of the action of the heart, amounting in 
some persons to a painful and irregular 
palpitation. No such result seems to fol- 
low its moderate use. 

" The loss by perspiration is limited by 
tea." 

This seems, at first, contrary to com- 
mon experience, as the sensible perspira- 
tion produced by several cups of warm 
tea is a familiar fact to all tea-drinkers. 
That this effect is wholly owing to -the 
warmth of the mixture, it being drank 
usually in hot infusion or decoction, was 
pointed out long since by Cullen. Tea 
limits perspiration, perhaps, by the astrin- 
gent action of the tannin which it con- 
tains, of which more hereafter. What 
is saved by limiting perspiration ? Wa- 
ter, largely ; carbonic acid, in considerable 
amount; ammonia (a nitrogenized sub- 
stance ;) salts of soda, potash and lime, 
and a trace of iron, all in quantities mi- 
nute, to be sure, but to be counted in the 
aggregate of arrest of metamorphosis. 

But the great fact which establishes tea 
as an arrester of the change of tissue is, 
that its use diminishes remarkably the 
amount of nitrogen thrown off by the ex- 
cretions, specially destined to remove that 
element, when in excess, from the system. 
We have before called attention to the 
fact, that an indispensable component of 
plastic food, by which alone the tissues 
we repaired, is nitrogen. By a chemico- 



[Junuary. 

vital process, nitrogen builds up and is 
incorporated in the tissues. Nitrogen, 
again, is one of the resulting components 
of the change of tissue. This element 
forms a large part of the effete particles 
which are rejected on accumulation from 
such change or waste. That a less amount 
is excreted by the tea-drinker, when sim- 
ilar quantities are ingested, the weight 
and plumpness of the body remaining 
undiminished the while, is proof of the 
slower change of tissue which takes place 
under the modifying influence of tea. 
The importance of this effect we shall 
presently see. 

" In the first series of experiments, the 
daily allowance of food, though less co- 
pious on the tea days, was more nitrogen- 
ized, and nitrogen also was taken in as 
theine. Yet, in spite of this, the quantity 
thrown off in twenty-four hours was near- 
ly a gramme less than on the water days. 
Still more strikingly is this shown in the 
days of complete fast, when pure spring- 
water is seen to cause a greater loss of 
nitrogen than infusion of tea, in spite 
of the supply of nitrogen contained in 
the latter. The difference also is seen 
to exist in spite of an increased amount 
of bodily exercise." 

As final deductions from these experi- 
ments, there result, first, " that, when the 
diet is sufficient, the body is more likely 
to gain weight when tea is taken than 
when not " ; second, " that, when the 
diet is insufficient, tea limits very much 
the loss of weight thereby entailed." 

A set of experiments made by Dr. 
Lehmann are parallel with these. They 
exhibit the effects of coffee on the ex- 
cretion of phosphorus, chloride of sodium, 
(common salt,) and nitrogen. If less full 
than Dr. Becker's, they appear to be 
equally accurate, and more complete in 
showing the separate actions of the sev- 
eral constituents of coffee. It would be 
tedious to the general reader to follow 
them in detail, and w shall avail our- 
selves of the brief resume of Dr. Cham- 
bers. 

" First, Coffee produces on the or- 
ganism two chief effects, which it is very 



1859.] 



Coffee and Tea, 



41 



difficult to connect together, namely, 
the raising the activity of the vascular 
and nervous systems, and protracting re- 
markably the decomposition of the tissues. 
Second, that it is the reciprocal modifi- 
cations of the specific actions of the em- 
pyreumatic oil and cafeine contained in 
the bean which call forth the stimulant 
effects of coffee, and therefore those pe- 
culiarities of it which possess importance 
in our eyes, such as the rousing into 
new life the soul prostrated by exertion, 
and especially the giving it greater elas- 
ticity, and attuning it to meditation, and 
producing a general feeling of comfort. 
Third, that the protraction of meta- 
uiorphic decomposition which this bever- 
age produces in the body is chiefly caused 
by the empyreumatic oil, and that the 
cafeine only causes it when it is taken 
in larger quantity than usual. Fourth, 
that cafeine (in excess) produces in- 
creased action of the heart, rigors, head- 
ache, a peculiar inebriation, delirium, and 
so on. Fifth, that the empyreumatic 
oil (in excess) causes perspirations, aug- 
mented activity of the understanding, 
which may end in irregular trains of 
thought, restlessness, and incapacity for 
sleep." 

It follows that both the active elements 
of the coffee-berry are necessary to in- 
sure its grateful effects, that the volatile 
and odorous principle alone protracts de- 
composition, and that careful prepara- 
tion in roasting and decocting are es- 
sential to secure the full benefits of it as 
a beverage. 

It would be difficult to overestimate 
the practical importance of these results. 
They raise coffee and tea from the rank 
of stimulants to that of food, from idle 
luxuries to real agents of support and 
lengthening of life. Henceforth the econ- 
omist can hear of their increasing con- 
sumption without a regret. The poor may 
indulge in them, not as extravaaant en- 
joyments, but practical goods. The cup 
of tea, which is the sole luxury of their 
scanty meal, lessens the need for more 
solid food ; it satisfies the stomach, while 
it gladdens the heart. It saves them, too, 



the waste of those nitrogen ized articles 
of food which require so much labor and 
forethought to procure. The flesh meats 
and the cereals, which contain the largest 
amounts of this requisite of organic life, 
are always the dearest articles of con- 
sumption. Certainly it, is not as positive 
nutriment that we recommend the use of 
coffee and tea ; for although they con- 
tain a relatively large amount of nitro- 
gen, that supply can be better taken 
in solid food. Their benefit is two-fold. 
While they save more than enough of 
the waste of tissue to justify their use 
as economical beverages, they supply a 
need of the nervous system of no small 
importance. They cheer, refresh, and 
console. They thus fill a place in the 
wants of humanity which Common ar- 
ticles of food cannot, inasmuch as they 
satisfy the cravings of the spirit as well 
as of the flesh. 

We have before attempted to show 
that the human race is liable to a pecul- 
iar and constant waste from the develop- 
ment of the nervous system, and that 
the body has to answer for the labor of 
the mind. At first thought, we shall find 
it difficult to appreciate the endless vigi- 
lance and activity of the brain. Like 
the other organisms which possess a prop- 
er nervous system, man carries on the 
common organic processes of life with a 
regularity and unfailing accuracy which 
seem to verge on the mechanical forces, 
or to be, at least, automatic. All habitual 
voluntary acts by repetition become al- 
most automatic, or require no perceptibly 
distinct impulse of the will. When we 
emerge from this necessary field of labor, 
we come to those functions peculiar to 
the proper brain. Here all is continual 
action. Thought, imagination, will, the 
conflicting passions, language, and even 
articulation, claim their first impulse from 
the nervous centre. The idlest reverie, 
as well as the most profound study, taxes 
the brain. That distinguishing attribute 
of man can almost never rest. In sleep, 
to be sure, we find a seeming exception. 
Then only its inferior poivon remains 
necessarily at work to supervise the 



42 



Coffee and Tea. 



[January, 



breathing function. Yet we know that 
we have often dreamed, while we do 
not know how often we fail to recall our 
dreams. The duality of the cerebrum 
may also furnish a means of rest in all 
trivial mental acts. Still, the great de- 
mands of the mind upon the nervous 
tissues remain. And it is these losses 
which may be peculiarly supplied by the 
nervous stimulants. Such are coffee and 
tea. Common nutrition by common food, 
and particularly the adipose and phos- 
phatic varieties, nourishes nerve tissue, 
no doubt, as gluten and fibrine do mus- 
cle. But the stimulants satisfy tempo- 
rarily their pressing needs, and enable 
them to continue their labors without 
exhaustion. Reacting again upon the 
rest of the body, they invigorate the pro- 
cesses of ordinary nutrition ; for what- 
ever rests or stimulates the nerve pro- 
portionately refreshes and vitalizes the 
tissues which it supplies. 

It would be curious and well worth 
while to follow out the peculiar connec- 
tion between the use of coffee and the 
excretion of phosphorus, which has been 
before hinted at. Other experiments of 
Dr. Bocker prove sugar to be a great 
saver of the phosphates, and hence of 
bone, which affords, at least, a veiy 
plausible reason for the instinctive fond- 
ness of children for sweets, during the 
building portion of their lives. 

In exhausting labors, long-continued 
exposure, and to insure wakefulness, the 
uses of coffee and tea have long been 
practically recognized by all classes. The 
sailor, the trapper, and the explorer value 
them even above alcohol ; and in high 
latitudes we are assured of their im- 
portance in bracing the system to resist 
the rigors of the Arctic winter. 

There is of course, as in all human 
history, another side of this picture. 
Abuse follows closely after use. The 
effects of the excessive employment of 
nervous stimulants in shaking the nerves 
themselves, and in impairing digestion, 
are too familiar to need description. Yet 
even here a 1 use is not followed by those 
terrible penalties which await the drunk- 



ard or the opium-eater. Idiosyncrasy, 
too, may forbid their use ; and this is not 
very rare. As strengtheners and com- 
forters of the average human system, 
however, they have no superiors, and 
none others are so largely used. 

It is a little singular that the active 
principles of coffee and tea are proba- 
bly identical, no more so, however, than 
the marvellous similarity of starch, gum, 
and sugar, or other chemical wonders. 
They have been called cafeine and the- 
ine, respectively. They are azotized, 
and contain quite a marked amount of 
nitrogen. Chemically, they consist of 
carbon j 9 , hydrogen 10, nitrogen 4, oxy- 
gen 4. Some allowance is therefore to 
be made for them as plastic food. 

This peculiar principle (theine) is also 
found in the leaves of the Ilex Para- 
guayensis, or Paraguay tea, used in South 
America, as a beverage. 

" Good black tea contains of 

theine from 2.00 to 2.13 per cent 

Coffee-leaves " " 1.15 " 1.25 " " 
Paraguay tea " " 1.01 " 1.23 " " 
The coffee-berry a mean of 1.00 " " 

" Besides the theine and the essential 
oils, which latter give the aroma of the 
plants, there is contained in both coffee 
and tea a certain amount of difficultly 
soluble vegetable albumen, and in the 
latter, especially, a large quantity of tan- 
nin. Roasting renders volatile the essen- 
tial oil of the coffee-berry. The tea-leaf, 
infused for a short time, parts with its 
essential oil, and a small portion of alka- 
loid, (theine,) a good deal of which is 
thrown away with the grounds. If it 
stands too long, or is boiled, more in- 
deed is got out of it, but an astringent, 
disagreeable drink is the result. The 
boiling of coffee extracts all its oil and 
alkaloid too, and, when it is drunk with 
the grounds, allows the whole nutriment 
to be available. Even when strained, it 
is clearly more economical than tea." 

Roasted coffee is a powerful deodor- 
izer, also. This fact is familiarly illus- 
trated by its use in bar-rooms ; and it 
might be made available for other pur- 
poses. 



1851).] 



Coffee and Tea. 



The cost and vast consumption of cof- 
fee and tea have made the inducements 
to adulterate them very great. The most 
harmless form is the selling of coffee- 
grounds and old tea-leaves for fresh 
coffee and tea. There is no security 
in buying coffee ready-ground; and we 
always look at the neat little packages 
of it in the grocers' windows with a shud- 
der. Beans and peas we have certainly 
tasted in ground coffee. The most fash- 
ionable adulteration, and one even open- 
ly vaunted as economical and increasing 
the richness of the beverage, is with the 
root of the wild endive, or chicory, 
lloasted and ground, it closely resembles 
coffee. It contains, however, none of 
the virtues of the latter, and has nothing 
to recommend it but its cheapness. The 
leaves of the ash and the sloe are used 
to adulterate tea. They merely dilute 
its virtues, without adding any that are 
worth the exchange. 

The coffee-tree is a native of Ethiopia 
or Abyssinia. Bruce tells us that the 
nomad tribes of that part of Africa carry 
with them, in crossing deserts on hostile 
expeditions, only balls of pulverized 
roasted coffee mixed with butter. One 
of these as large as a billiard-ball keeps 
them, they say, in strength and spirits 
during a whole day's fatigue, better than 
a loaf of bread or a meal of meat. The 
Arabs gave the first written account of 
coffee, and first used it in the liquid form. 
Burton, in his " Anatomy of Melancholy," 
mentions it as early as 1621. " The 
Turks have a drink they call coffee, (for 
they use no wine,) so named of a berry 
as black as soot, and as bitter, which they 
sip up as warm as they can suffer, be- 
cause they find by experience that that 
kind of drink, so used, helpeth digestion 
and procure th alacrity." 

The coffee-tree reaches a height of from 
six to twelve 1'eet, and when fully grown 
much resembles the apple-tree. Its leaves 
are green all the year ; and in almost all 
seasons, blossoms and green and ripe fruit 
may be seen on the same tree at the same 
time. "When the blossom falls, there 
springs from it a small fruit, green at first, 



red when ripe, and under its flesh, instead 
of a stone, is the bean or berry we call cof- 
fee. " It has but recently become known 
by Europeans that the leaves of the cof- 
fee-plant contain the same essential prin- 
ciple for which the berries are so much 
valued. In Sumatra, the natives scarcely 
use anything else. The leaves are cured 
like tea. And the tree will produce 
leaves over a much larger habitat than it 
will berries." Should the decoction of the 
leaves prove as agreeable as that of the 
berry, we shall have a much cheaper cof- 
fee ; though it remains to be proved that 
they contain the essential oil as well as 
the cafeine. 

The coffees of Java, Ceylon, and 
Mocha are most esteemed. The quan- 
tities produced are quite iimited. Ma- 
nila and Arabia together give less than 
4,500 tons. Cuba yields 5,000 tons per 
annum; St. Domingo, 18,000; Ceylon 
and the British East Indies, 16,000; 
Java, 60,000 ; and Brazil, 142,000. Yet, 
in 1774, a Franciscan friar, named Vi- 
llaso, cultivated a single coffee-tree in 
the garden of the convent of San An- 
tonio, in Brazil. In the estimates for 
1853, we find that Great Britain con- 
sumes 17,500 tons; France, 21,500; Ger- 
many, (Zollverein), 58,000; and the 
United States, about 90,000 tons. It is 
worth remarking how small is the com- 
parative consumption of tea in France. 
The importation of tea for 1840 was only 
264,000 kilogrammes (less than 600,000 
pounds). 

In Asia, coffee is drunk in a thick far- 
inaceous mixture. With us the cup of 
coffee is valued by its clearness. We 
generally drink it with sugar and milk. 
The French with their meals use it as we 
do, but after dinner, invariably without 
milk (cafe notV). And we would sug- 
gest to the nervous and the dyspeptic, 
who do not want to resign the luxury of 
cofl'ee, or to whom its effects as an ar- 
rester of metamorphosis are beneficial, 
that when drunk on a full stomach its 
effects upon the nerves are much less 
felt than when taken fasting or with the 
meals. 



44 



Men of the Sea. 



[January, 



In the consumption of tea the United 
States rank next to Great Britain. Tea 
is the chief import from China into this 
country. The tea-plant flourishes from 
the equator to the forty-fifth parallel of 
latitude; though it grows best between 
the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth par- 
allels. Probably it can be successfully 
cultivated in our Southern States. Mr. 
Fortune considers that all varieties of tea 
are derived from the same plant Other 
authorities say that there are two species, 
the green and the black, Thea viridis 
and Thea Bohea. This point is yet un- 
settled. Tea is grown in small, shrub- 
like plantations, resembling vineyards. 
As it is a national beverage, certain lo- 
calities are as much valued for choice 
varieties as are the famous vintage-hills 
and slopes of Southern France. The 
buds and the leaves are used ; and there 
are three harvestings, in February, 
April, and June. The young, unfolded 
buds of February furnish the " Youi " 
and " Soumlo," or " Imperial Teas." 
These are the delicate " Young Hysons " 
which we are supposed to buy sometimes, 
but most of which are consumed by the 
Mandarins. Souchong, Congo, and Bo- 
hea mark the three stages of increasing 
size and coarseness in the leaves. Black 



tea is of the lowest kind, with the largest 
leaves. In gathering the choicer varie- 
ties, we are told on credible authority 
that " each leaf is plucked separately ; 
the hands are gloved ; the gatherer must 
abstain from gross food, and bathe several 
times a day." Many differences in the 
flavor and color of green and black teas 
are produced by art. Mr. Fortune says 
of green tea, that " it has naturally no 
bloom on the leaf, and a much more 
natural color. It is dyed with Prussian 
blue and gypsum. Probably no bad ef- 
fects are produced. There is no founda- 
tion for the suspicion that green tea owes 
its verdure to an inflorescence acquired 
from plates of copper oh which it is 
curled or dried. The drying-pans are 
said to be invariably of sheet-iron." We 
drink our tea with milk or sugar, or 
both, and always in warm infusion. In 
Russia, it is drunk cold, in China, pure ; 
in Ava, it is used as a pickle preserved 
in oil. 

It would be improper not to notice, 
finally, the moral effect of coffee- and tea- 
drinking. How much resort to stronger 
stimulants these innocent beverages pre- 
vent can be judged only by the weak- 
ness of human nature and the vast con- 
sumption of both. 



MEN OF THE SEA. 



WHEN the little white-headed country- 
boy of an inland farmstead lights upon 
a book which shapes his course in life, 
five times out of six the volume of his 
destiny will turn out to be "Robinson 
Crusoe." That wonderful fiction is one 
of the servants of the sea, a sort of 
bailiff, which enters many a man's house 
and singles out and seizes the tithe of his 
flock. Or rather, cunning old De Foe, 
like Odusseus his helmet, wherewith he 
detected the disguised Achilles among the 
maids-of-honor, by his magic book, sum- 



mons to the service of the sea its predes- 
tined ones. Why is it, but from a differ- 
ence in blood and soul, that the sea gets 
its own so surely ? The fanner's sons grow 
up about the fireside, do chores together, 
together range the woods for squirrels, 
woodchucks, chestnuts, and sassafras, go to 
the same " deestrick-school," and succeed 
to the same ambitions and Lopes. Reu- 
ben, the first-born, comes in due time to 
the care of the paternal acres and oxen. 
Simeon, Dan, Judah, Benjamin, and the 
rest, grow up and emigrate to Western 



1859.] 



Men of the Sea. 



45 



Hearings. Levi, it may be, pale, thought- 
ful Levi, sees other fields " white to har- 
vest," and struggles up through a New 
England academy- and college-education, 
to find a seat in the lecture-rooms of An- 
dover, and to hope for a pulpit hereafter. 
But Joseph, the pet and pride of the house- 
hold, what becomes of him ? Unlucky 
little duck ! why could he not go " peep- 
ing" at the heels of the maternal par- 
ent with his brother and sister biddies ? 
Why must he be born with webbed toes, 
and run at once to the wash-tub, there 
to make nautical experiments with wal- 
nut-shells ? 

I know why the boys of a seaport-town 
take kindly to the water. All the birds 
of the shore are something marine, and 
their table-flavor is apt to be fishy. We 
youngsters, who were rocked to sleep 
with the roar of the surf in our ears, ^ 
one wall of whose play-room was colored 
in blue edged with white, in striking con- 
trast with the peaceful green of the three 
other sides, who have many a night 
lain warm in bed and listened to the dis- 
tant roll of a sea-chorus and the swing- 
ing tramp of a dozen jolly blue-jack- 
ets, we whose greatest indulgence was 
a sail with Old Card, the boatman par ex- 
cellence, we who knew ships, as the far- 
mer's boy knows his oxen, before we had 
mastered the multiplication-table, it is 
not strange that we should take kindly to 
salt water. So, too, all along the lovely 
" fiords " of Maine, in the villages which 
cluster about the headlands of Essex, in 
the brown and weather-mossed cottages 
which dot the white sands of Cape Cod, 
by the southern shore of Long Island, 
wherever the sea and the land meet, the 
boy grows up drawing into his lungs the 
salt air, which passes in Nature's myste- 
rious alchemy into his blood, so that he 
can never wholly disown his birthright. 
But what is it that draws from the re- 
mote inland the predestinate children of 
the deep ? 

Poor little Joseph ! he tries to slip 
along with the others ; but when the holi- 
day comes, instinct takes him straight to 
the mill-pond, there to construct forbid- 



den rafts and adventure contraband voy- 
ages. The best-worn page of his Malte- 
Brun Geography is that which treats the 
youthful student to a packet-passage to 
England. He can tell the names of all 
islands, capes, and bays ; but ask him the 
boundaries of Bohemia or Saxony, the 
capitals of Western States, and down he 
goes to the foot of the class. Thus it 
continues awhile, till, after a fracas at 
school, or a neglected duty on the farm, 
or similar severance of the bonds of home, 
Master Joe may be seen trudging along 
the dusty seaport?highway, in a passion 
of tears, but with a resolute heart, and an 
ever-deepening conviction that he must 
go on, and not back. 

Then there is another class, the poet- 
ical, dreamy adventurer, to whom the sea 
beckons in every white Undine that rises 
along the beaches of a moonlight night, 
to whom it calls in that mournful and 
magic undertone heard only by those 
who love and listen. These do not often 
run away to go to sea; they prefer to 
voyage genteelly in yachts or packet- 
ships, and, if the impulse be very strong, 
will get a commission in the navy. How- 
ever, if circumstances compel a Tapleyan 
" coming out strong," they will sometimes 
face their work, and that right nobly; 
for there is nowhere that gentle blood 
so tells as at sea. The utter absence 
of all sham or room for sham brings 
out true and noble qualities as well as 
mean and selfish ones. For ordinary 
work, one man's muscle is as good as 
another's. It is only when the time of 
trial comes, when the volunteers are 
called to man the boat that is to venture 
through the wild seas to pick off the crew 
of a foundering wreck, " when the jerk- 
ing, slatting sail overhead must be got 
in somehow," though topmast and yard 
and sail may go any minute, when the 
quailing mate or frightened captain dares 
not order men to all but certain death, 
and still less dares to lead, then it is, 
when the lives of all hang on the hero- 
ism of one, that the good blood will assert 
itself. 

Then there is the class who are sent to 



46 



Men of the Sea. 



[January, 



sea, scapegraces all. The alternative 
is not unfrequently the one of which 
Dr. Johnson chose the other side. The 
Doctor being fans question a landsman, 
he never saw, we warrant, any resem- 
blance to fore and main and niizzen in 
the three spires of Litchfield. But the 
Doctor, not being a scamp, was not 
compelled to choose. Many another is 
not so well off. Like little boys who 
are sent to school, they learn what they 
learn from pretty much the same motive. 
Sometimes they turn out good and gal- 
lant men ; but not often does it reform a 
man who is unfit for the shore to dispatch 
him to sea. If there are any vices he 
does not carry with him, they are com- 
monly to be had dog- and dirt-cheap at 
the first port his ship makes. 

Then, last of all, there is a large and 
increasing class who get to sea. They 
fall into the calling, they cannot tell how ; 
they continue in it, they cannot tell why. 
Some have friends who would rescue 
them, if they could ; others have no friend, 
no home, no nationality even, the pariahs 
of the sea, sullen, stupid, and broken- 
down, burnt-out shells of men, which the 
belaying-pin of, some brutal or passionate 
mate crushes into sudden collapse, or 
which the hospital duly consigns to the 
potter's field. 

There is a popular idea of the sailor, 
which, beginning at the lowest note of 
the gamut, with the theatrical and cheap- 
novelist mariner, runs up its do-re-mi 
with authors, preachers, public speakers, 
reformers, and legislators, but always in 
the wrong key. There is no use in mak- 
ing up an ideal of any class ; but if you 
must have one, let it be of an extinct class. 
It does not much harm to construct hor- 
rible plesiosaurians from the petrified 
scales we dig out of a coal-mine or chalk- 
pit ; but when it comes to idealizing the 
sea-serpent, who winters at the Cape 
Verds and summers at Nahant, it is a 
serious matter. For the love of Agassiz, 
give us true dimensions or none. 

So, too, fancy Greeks and Romans may 
be ever preferable to the true Aristoph- 
anic or Juvenalian article, imaginary 



Cavaliers or Puritans not at all hard to 
swallow, but ideal sailors, why in the 
world must we bear them, when we can 
get the originals so cheaply ? When 
the American " Beggar's Opera " was 
put upon the stage, " Mose " stepped for- 
ward, the very impersonation of the Bow- 
ery. If it was low, it was at least true, a 
social fact. But the stage sailor is not as 
near probability as even the stage ship 
or the theatrical ocean. He is a relic of 
the past, a monstrous compound out of 
the imperfect gleanings of the AVapping 
dramatists of the last century. Yet all 
those who deal with this character of the 
sailor begin upon the same false notion. 
In their eyes the seaman is a good-na- 
tured, unsophisticated, frank, easy-going 
creature, perfectly reckless of money, 
very fond of his calling, unhappy on 
shore, manly, noble-hearted, generous to 
a degree inconceivable to landsmen. He 
is a child who needs to be put in lead- 
ing-strings the moment he comes over 
the side, lest he give way to an uncon- 
querable propensity of his to fry gold 
watches and > devour bank-notes, a /a 
sandwich, with his bread and butter. 

With this theory in view, all sorts of 
nice schemes are set forward for the sail- 
or, and endless are the dull and decorous 
substitutes for the merriment or sociability 
of his favorite boarding-house, and won- 
derful are the schemes which are to at- 
tract the nautical Hercules to choose the 
austere virtue and neglect the rollicking 
and easy-going vice. Beautiful on pa- 
per, admirable in, reports, pathetic iu 
speeches, all pictorial with anchors and 
cables and polar stars, with the light-house 
of Duty and the shoals of Sin. But mean- 
while the character of the merchant-ma- 
rine is daily deteriorating. More is done 
for the sailor now by fifty times than was 
done fifty years ago ; yet who will com- 
pare the crews of 1858 with those of 
1808? 

There are many reasons for this change, 
and one is Science. That which always 
makes the rich richer and the poor poor- 
er, and which can be made to restore 
the lost equilibrium in a higher civiliza- 



1859.] 



Men of the Sea. 



47 



tion only by the strong pressure of an en- 
lightened Christianity, has been at work 
upon the sea. Columbus sailed out of Pa- 
los in a very different looking craft from 
the " Great Kepublic." The Vikings had 
small knowledge of taking a lunar, and 
of chronometers set by Greenwich time. 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, when he so gal- 
lantly and piously reminded his crew 
that " heaven was as near by sea as on 
land," was sitting in the stern of a craft 
hardly so large as the long-boat of a mod- 
ern merchantman. Yet the modern time 
does not give us commanders such as 
were of old, still less such seamen. Sci- 
ence has robbed the sea of its secret, is 
every day bearing away something of the 
old difficulties and dangers which made 
the wisest head and the strongest arm so 
dear to their fellows, which gave that inex- 
pressible sense of brotherhood. Science 
has given us the steamship, it has de- 
stroyed the sailor. The age of discovery 
is closing with this century. Up to the 
limits of the ice-fields, every shore is map- 
ped out, every shoal sounded. Not only 
does Science give the fixed, but she is 
even transferring to her charts the va- 
riable features of the deep, the sliding 
current, the restless and veering wind. 

The personal qualities which were once 
needed for the sea-service are fast pass- 
ing away. The commander or the mas- 
ter needs no longer to lean upon his 
men, or they to trust in him. He wants 
drudges, not shipmates, obedient, active 
drudges, men who can be drilled to 
quick execution of duty, even as in a 
machine the several parts. The navy 
is manned after this pattern ; but there 
is a touchstone which sharpens the edge 
dulled with routine, the touchstone of 
war. When the time comes that the 
drum-tap calls to quarters, and the decks 
are strewn with sand, when with silence 
as of the grave, fore and aft, the frigate 
moves stately and proud into the line of 
her adversaries' fire, then it is that the 
officer and the man meet face to face, and 
the awful truth of battle compels them 
to own their common brotherhood. The 
merchant-service has few such exigencies. 



The greater the size of the ship, the great- 
er the number of the crew. The system 
of shipping-offices and outfitters breaks up 
almost all the personal contact between 
master and men. They come on board 
at the hour of sailing. A gang of rig- 
gers, stevedores, or lightermen work the 
vessel into the stream. A handful of 
boosy wretches are bundled into the fore- 
castle, and as many more rolled, dead- 
drunk, into their bunks, to sleep off their 
last spree. The mates are set to the task 
of dragooning into order the unruly mass. 
Half the men have spent their advance, 
and mean to run as soon as the ship ar- 
rives. They intend to do as little as they 
can, to " soger," and shirk, and work 
against the ship all they can. The captain 
cares only to make a quick passage and 
get what he can out of the crew. Commu- 
nity of interest there is none. Brutal au- 
thority is pitted against sullen discontent. 
In the old days of the little white-head- 
ed farmer's boy's dreams, there were dis- 
covery- and trading-ships sailing into un- 
known seas, and finding fairy islands 
never visited before. There were savages 
to trade with, to fight with, it might be. 
There were a thousand perils and adven- 
tures that called for all the manly and 
ennobling qualities both of generous com- 
mand and loyal obedience. It was a 
point of honor to stick by ship and cap- 
tain while ship and captain remained to 
stick by ; for the success of a voyage 
depended on such mutual trust and help. 
But now where is the sea's secret ? 
There is hardly a square league of water 
which has not been sailed over. Find 
an island large enough to land a goat 
upon, and you will find it laid down in 
the charts, and, if it be only far enough 
south, a Stonington sealer at anchor un- 
der its lee, or a New Bedford whaler's 
crew ashore picking up drift-wood. Where 
are the old dangers of the sea ? We are 
fast learning to calculate for the storms, 
and to run from them. Steam-frigates 
have ended forever the pirates of the 
Spanish Main. The long, low, black 
schooner, which could sail dead to wind- 
ward through the pages of the cheap 



48 



Men of the Sea. 



[January, 



" yellow-covers," and the likeness of 
which sported its skull and crossbones 
on the said covers, is to be met with 
nowhere else. Neither the Isle of Pines 
nor the numberless West India keys 
know her or her romantic commander 
any more. 

The relations of trade, too, have changed 
with the changes of Science. We were 
once gathered with the group of travel- 
lers who are wont to smoke the cigar of 
peace beside the pilot-house of one of our 
noble Sound steamers. As we rounded 
the Battery and sped swiftly up the East 
River, the noblest avenue of New York, 
lined with the true palaces of her mer- 
chant-princes, an avenue which by its 
solid and truthful architecture half atones 
for the flimsiness of its land structures, 
as we passed the ocean steamships lying 
at the " Hook," the sea-captains about me 
began to talk of the American triumphs 
of speed. " They say to the Englishmen 
now," said one, " that we're going to take 
the berths out of the ' Pacific.' " (She 
had just made the then crack passage.) 
' When the English fellows ask, ' What 
for ? ' they say, ' Because Collins intends 
to run her for a day-boat.' " This extrav- 
aganza raised a laugh ; but one of the 
older brethren shook his head solemnly 
and sadly. " It's all very well," said he ; 
" but what with a steamer twice a week, 
and your telegraph to New Orleans, they 
know what's going on at Liverpool as well 
as if they were at Prince's Dock. It 
don't pay now to lay a week alongside 
the levee on the chance of five cents for 
cotton." 

It was a text that suggested a long 
homily. The shipmaster was degraded 
from his old position of the merchant's 
friend, confidential agent, and often 
brother-merchant. He was to become a 
mere conductor, to take the ship from 
port to port. No longer identified with 
the honor and success of a great and 
princely house, with the old historic kings 
of the Northwest Coast, or of Canton, 
or of Calcutta, he sinks into a mere 
navigator, and a smuggler of Geneva 
watches or French embroideries. 



We state facts. Thus much has Sci- 
ence done to deteriorate the men of the 
sea. It has robbed them of all the noblest 
parts of their calling. It has taken away 
the spirit of adventure, the love of enter- 
prise, and the manly spirit which braved 
unknown dangers. It has destroyed their 
interest by its new-modelling of trade ; 
it has divided labor, and is constantly 
striving to solve the problem, How to work 
a ship without requiring from the sailor 
any courage or head-work, or anything, in 
short, but mere muscle. It interferes with 
the healthful relations of officer and man. 
The docks of Liverpool are a magnificent 
work, but they necessitate the driving of 
the seaman from his ship into an atmos- 
phere reeking with pollution. The steam- 
tugs of New York are a wonderful con- 
venience, but they help to further many 
a foul scheme of the Cherry-Street crimps 
and land-sharks. 

For all this Science owes a remedy. 
It must be in a scientific way. We have 
indicated some of the leading causes of 
the decline of the seaman's character. 
The facts are very patent. Step into any 
shipping-office, or consult any sea-captain 
of your acquaintance, and you will have 
full evidence of what we say. 

The remedy must not be outside the 
difficulty. You may build " Bethels " into 
which the sailor won't come, and " Homes" 
where he won't stay, distribute ship-loads 
of tracts, and scatter Bibles broadcast, 
but you will still have your work to do. 
The Bethel, the Home, and the Bible 
are all right, but they are for the shore, 
and the sailor's home is on the sea. It 
points an address prettily, no doubt, to 
picture a group of pious sailors reading 
their Bibles aloud of a Sunday afternoon, 
and entertaining each other with pro- 
found theological remarks, couched in ha- 
zy nautical language. But what is the 
real truth of the case ? It may be a 
ship close-hauled, with Cape Horn under 
her lee, all hands on deck for twelve 
hours, sleet, snow, and storm, the slide 
over the forecastle hatchway, no light 
below by which to make out a line even 
of the excellent type of the American 



1859.] 



Men of the Sea, 



49 



Bible Society, and on deck a gale blow- 
ing that would take the leaves bodily out 
of any book short of a fifteenth-century 
folio, this, with the men now reefing and 
now shaking out topsails and every other 
thing, as the gale rages or lulls, in the 
hope of working to windward of certain 
destruction. 

The remedy, to be effectual, must touch 
the seaman's calling. It is of no use to 
appeal to his better nature, if he hasn't 
any. If you make a drudge a-nd a beast 
of him, you can't do him much good by 
preaching at him. The working of the 
present system is, that there are afloat 
a set of fellows who are a sort of no- 
countrymen. Like the beach-combers 
of the Pacific, they have neither coun- 
try, home, nor friends, and are as differ- 
ent from the old class of American sailors 
as the condottiere from the loyal soldier. 
Let the navigation-laws be enforced first 
of all, and see that the due proportion 
of the crews of every ship be native- 
born. Let the custom-house protections 
be no longer the farce they are, where 
a man who talks of " awlin haft the main 
tack " is set down as a native of Martha's 
Vineyard, and his messmate, who couldn't 
say "peas" without betraying County 
Cork, is permitted to hail from the inte- 
rior of Pennsylvania. Let the ship-own- 
ers combine (it is for their interest) to 
do away with the whole body of ship- 
ping-agents, middlemen, and land-sharks. 
Jack will take his pleasure ashore, you 
can't help that; and perhaps so would 
you, Sir, after six months of "old horse" 
and stony biscuit, with a leaky forecastle 
and a shorthanded crew. Jack will take 
his pleasure, and that in ways we may 
all of us object to ; but, for Heaven's 
sake, break up a system of which the 
whole object is to degrade the man into 
the mere hack of a set of shore harpies. 
Do not leave him in the hands of those 
whom you arc now permitting to com- 
bine with yon to clear him out as swiftly 
as possible, and then dispatch him to sea. 
Let the captains ship their own crews 
on board the ship, and do away with the 
system of advances. But, at any rate, 

voi- in. 4 



do learn to treat the sailor as if he were 
not altogether a fool. He has sense, 
plenty of it, shrewd, strong, common 
sense, and more real gentlemanly feeling 
than we on shore generally suppose, a 
good deal of faith, and certain standing 
principles of sea-morality. But at the 
same time he has prejudices and whims 
utterly unaccountable to men living on 
shore. He will forfeit one or two hun- 
dred dollars of wages to run from 
a ship and captain with which he can 
find no fault. He will ship the next 
day in a worse craft for smaller wages. 
You cannot understand his impulses and 
moods and grievances till you see them 
from a forecastle point of view. 

It may be that Science will solve the 
riddle by casting aside the x works and 
improvements of a thousand years, the 
" wave line," the spar, the sail, and ail, 
and with them the men of the sea. It 
may be that " Leviathans " will march 
unheedingly through the mountain waves, 
that steam and the Winans's model will 
obliterate old inventions and labors and 
triumphs. Blake and Raleigh and Fro- 
bisher and Dampier may be known no 
more. The poetry and the mystery of 
the sea may perish altogether, as they 
have in part. Out of the past looks a 
bronzed and manly face ; along the dedc 
of a phantom-ship swings a square and 
well-knit form. I hear, in memory, the 
ring of his cheerful voice. I see his 
alert and prompt obedience, his self-re- 
specting carriage, and I know him for 
the man of the sea, who was with Hull 
in the " Constitution " and Porter in the 
" Essex." I look for him now upon the 
broad decks of the magnificent mer- 
chantmen that lie along the slips of 
New York, and in his place is a lame 
and stunted, bloated and diseased wretch, 
spiritless, hopeless, reckless. Has he 
knowledge of a seaman's duty ? The 
dull sodden brain can carry the custom- 
ary orders of a ship's duty, but more than 
that it cannot Has he hopes of advance- 
ment ? His horizon is bounded by the bar 
and the brothel. A dog's life, a dog's 
berth, and a dog's death are his heritage. 



50 



Men of the Sea. 



The old illusion still prevails and has 
power over little towheaded Joseph on 
the Berkshire interval. It will not pre- 
vail much longer. It is fast yielding 
to the power of facts. The Joes of 
next year may run from home in obe- 
dience to the planetary destiny which 
casts their horoscope in Neptune, but 
they will not run to the forecastle. 
We shall have officers and men of a 
different class, the Spartan on the 
quarter-deck, the Helot in the forecastle. 
We have it now. A story of brutal 
wrong on shipboard startles the pub- 
lic. A mutiny breaks out in the Mersey, 
and a mate is beaten to death, and we 
wonder why the service is so demoral- 
ized. The story could be told by a 
glance at the names upon the shipping- 
papers. The officers are American, the 
men are foreigners, blacks, Irish, Ger- 
mans, non-descripts, but hopelessly sev- 
ered from the chances of the quarter- 
deck. The law may interpose a strong 
arm, and keep the officer from violence, 
the men from mutiny. We may enact 
a Draconian code which shall maintain 
a sullen and revengeful order upon the 
seas, but all fellowship and mutual help- 
fulness, are gone. When the day of trial 
comes, the wreck, the fire, the leak, 
subordination is lost, and every man 
scrambles for his own selfish safety, leav- 
ing women and children to the flames 
and the waves. Why is it that ships, 
dismasted, indeed, but light and staunch, 
are so often found rolling abandoned on 
the seas? It is the daily incident of our 
marine columns. I have been told by 
an old shipmaster, how, when he was a 
young mate, his ship was dismasted on 
the Banks of Newfoundland, on a voyage 
to Europe. The captain had been dis- 
abled and the vessel was leaking. He 
came into command. But in those days 
men never dreamed of leaving their ship 
till she was ready to leave them. They 
'rigged jury-masts, and, under short can- 
vas and working at the pumps, brought 
their craft to the mouth of Plymouth 
Harbor. The pilot demanded salvage, 
N. and was refused leave to come on board. 



The mate had been into that port before, 
was a good seaman and a sharp observer, 
and he took his vessel safely to her an- 
chorage himself, rather than burden his 
owners with a heavy claim. Captains 
and mates will not now-a-days follow 
that lead, because they cannot trust 
their men, because with every emergen- 
cy the morale of the forecastle is utterly 
gone. 

For all this there is of course no uni- 
versal panacea. Nor do I believe that 
legislation will much help the matter. 
The common-law of the seas, well car- 
ried out by competent courts of admi- 
ralty, is better than many statutes. For 
emergencies require extraordinary pow- 
ers and a wide discretion. There can 
be no divided rule in a ship. But if 
every man know his place and his duty, 
and none overstep it, there will come 
thereof successful and happy voyages. 
There must be discipline, subordination, 
and law. The republican theory stops 
with the shore. " Obey orders, though 
you break owners," is the Magna Charta 
of the main. , This can be well and wisely 
carried out only with some homogeneity 
of the ship's company, with a community 
of feeling and a community of interest. 
Everybody who has been off soundings 
knows, or ought to know, the difference 
between things " done with a will " and 
" sogering." If it be important on land 
to adjust the relations of employer and em- 
ployed, it is doubly important on the sea, 
where the peril and the privation are 
great For it is a hard life, a life of un- 
productive toil, that oftenest shows no 
results while accomplishing great ends. 
It cannot be made easy. The gale and 
the lee-shore are the same as when the 
sea-kings of old dared them and did 
battle with them in the heroic energy 
of their old Norse blood. The wet, the 
cold, the exposure must be, since you 
cannot put a Chilson's furnace into 
ship's forecastle, nor wear India-rubbers 
and carry an umbrella when you go aloft. 
But men will brave all such discomforts 
and the attendant perils with a hearty 
delight, if you will train up the right 



1850.J 



Men of the Sea. 



spirit in them. Better the worst night 
that ever darkened off Hatteras, than 
the consumption-laden atmosphere of the 
starving journeyman-tailor's garret, the 
slow inhalation of pulverized steel with 
which the needle-maker draws his every 
breath ! The sea's work makes a man, 
and leaves him with his duty nobly done, 
a man at the last Courage, loyal obe- 
dience, patient endurance, the abnega- 
tion of selfishness, these are the lessons 
the sea teaches. Why must the shore 
make such diabolical haste and try such 
fiendish ingenuity to undo them ? The 
sea is pure and free, the land is firm and 
stable, but where they meet, the tide 
rises and falls, leaving a little belt of 
sodden mud, of slippery, slimy weeds, 
where the dead refuse of the sea is cast 
up to rot in the hot sun. Something 
such is the welcome the men of the sea 
get from that shore which they serve. 
Into this Serbonian bog between them 
and us we let them flounder, instead 
of building out into their domain great 
and noble piers and wharves, upon which 
they can land securely and come among 
us. 

* Some years ago, a young scholar was 
led to step forth from his natural sphere 
into the forecastle of a merchantman. 
No quarrel with the world, no romantic 
fancy, drove him thither, but a plain com- 
mon-sense purpose. He saw what he 
saw fairly, and he has told the tale in a 
volume which, for picturesque clearness, 
vigor, and manly truthfulness, will scarce- 
ly find its equal this side the age of Eliza- 
beth. He owed it to the sea, for the sea 
gave him health, self-reliance, and fear- 
lessness, and that persistent energy which 
saved him from becoming that which ele- 
gant tastes and native refinement make 
of too many of our young men, a mere 
literary or social dilettante, and raised him 
up to be a champion of right, a chival- 
rous defender of the oppressed, whose 
name has honored his calling. His book 
was an effort in the right direction. By 
that we of the land were brought nearer 
to those x o whom this country owes so 
much, its merchant-seamen. But we 



want more than the work, however no- 
ble, of one man. We want the persist- 
ent and Christian interest in the elevation 
of the seaman of every man who is con- 
nected with his calling. We do not want 
a Miss-Nancyish nor Rosa-Matildan sen- 
timentalism, but a good, earnest, practical 
handling of the matter. We call our 
merchants princes. If wealth and lavish 
expenditure make the prince, they are, 
indeed, fit peers of Esterhazy or Lich- 
teustein. But the true princely heart 
looks after the humblest of its subjects. 
When the poor of Lyons were driven 
from their homes by the flooded Rhone, 
Louis Napoleon urged his horse breast- 
deep into the tide to see with his own 
eyes that his people were thoroughly res- 
cued. The merchant whose clippers 
have coined him gold should spare more 
than a passing thought upon the men who 
hung over the yards and stood watchful 
at the wheel. England's earls can aiford 
to look after the toiling serfs in their col- 
lieries ; the patricians of New York and 
Boston might read as startling a page 
as ever darkened a Parliamentary Blue- 
book, with a single glance into Cherry 
and Ann Streets. 

For a thousand years the Anglo-Saxon 
race has been sending its contributions to 
the nation of the Men of the Sea. Ever 
since the Welshman paddled his coracle 
across Caernarvon Bay, and Saxon Al- 
fred mused over the Danish galley wreck- 
ed upon his shore, each century has been 
adding new names of fame to the Vi- 
kings' bead-roll. Is the list full ? has 
Valhalla no niche more for them ? and 
must tho men of the sea pass away for- 
ever ? If it must be so, it must. Che 
sara tara. But if there is no overrul- 
ing Fate in this, but only the working 
of casual causes, it is somebody's care 
that they be removed. In almost all 
handicrafts and callings the last thirty 
years have wrought a vast and rapid de- 
terioration of the men who fill them. 
Machinery, the boasted civilizer, is tlic 
true barbarizer. The sea has not escap- 
ed. Its men are not what the men of 
old were. The question is, Can we let 



52 Chicadee. [January, 

them go ? can they be dispensed with who fight the battles of commerce, like 
among the elements of national great- other hirelings they will serve beneath 
ness ? the flag where the pay and the provant 
Passing fair is Venice, but she sits in are most abundant. The vicissitudes of 
lonely widowhood in the deserted Adri- traffic are passing swift in these latter 
atic. Amalfi crouches under her cliffs in days ; and it does not lie beyond the 
the shame of her poverty. The harbors reach of a possible future that the great 
of Tyre and Carthage are lonesome commercial capitals of the Atlantic coast 
pools. They tell their own story. When may be called to pause in their giddy 
the men of the sea no longer find a home race, even before they have rebuildcd 
or a welcome on the shore, when they the Quarantine Hospital, or laid the cap- 
are driven to become the mere hirelings stone of the pharos of Minot's Ledge. 



CHICADEE. 

THE song-sparrow has a joyous note, 

The brown thrush whistles bold and free ; 
But my little singing-bird at home 
Sings a sweeter song to me. 

The cat-bird, at morn or evening, sings 

With liquid tones like gurgling water ; 
But sweeter by far, to my fond ear, 
Is the voice of my little daughter. 

Four years and a half since she was born, 

The blackcaps piping cheerily, 
And so, as she came in winter with them, 
She is called our Chicadee. 

She sings to her dolls, she sings alone, 

And singing round the house she goes, 
Out-doors or within, her happy heart 
With a childlike song o'erflows. 

Her mother and I, though busy, hear, 

With mingled pride and pleasure listening,- 
And thank the inspiring Giver of song, 
While a tear in our eye is glistening. 

Oh ! many a bird of sweetest song 

I hear, when in woods or meads I roam ; 
But sweeter by far than all, to me, 
Is my Chicadee at home. 



1859.J 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



53 



THE ILLUSTRIOUS OBSCURE. 



A SECOND LETTER FROM PAUL POT- 
TER, OF NEW YORK, TO THE DON 
ROBERTO WAGONERO, COMMORANT 
OF WASHINGTON, IN THE DISTRICT 
OF COLUMBIA. 

22,728, Five Hundred and Fifty-First St., J 
New York, June 1, 1858. i 

DEAR DON BOBUS, I see that you 
have been Christian enough to send my 
last letter to " The Atlantic Monthly," 
and that the editors of that famous work 
have confirmed my opinion of their high 
taste by printing it. Your disposition 
of my MSS. I do not quarrel with ; al- 
though it must be regarded in law as an 
illegal liberty, inasmuch as the Court of 
Chancery has decided that a man does 
not part with property in his own letters 
merely by sending them ; but I ask per- 
mission to hint that your conduct will 
acquire a certain graceful rotundity, if 
you will remit to me in current funds 
the munificent sum of money which 
the whole-souled and gentlemanly pro- 
prietors pardon the verbal habits of 
my humble calling ! have without doubt 
already remitted to you. Pecunia prima 
tjucerenda, virtus post nwnmos. Mind 
you, I do not expect to be as well paid 
as Sannazarius. 

" Who the deuse was he ? " I hear you 
growling. 

My dear Iberian friend, I really thought 
that you knew everything ; but I find that 
you have set up for an Admirable Crich- 
ton upon an inadequate capital. Know, 
then, that a great many years ago San- 
nazarius never mind who he was, I 
do not justly know, myself wrote an 
hexastich on the city of Venice, and sent 
it to the potent Senators of that moist 
settlement. It was as follows : 

" Viderat Adriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis 

Stare urbera et toti ponere jura mari. 
Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantumvis, Jupiter, 
arces. 



Objice, et ilia tui moenia Martis, ait; 
Sic Pelago Tib rim praefers; urbem aspice 

utramque, 
I Ham homines dices, hanc posuisse deos." 

Which may be liberally rendered thus : 

When sea-faring Neptune saw Venice well- 
founded 

And stiffly coercing the Adrian main, 
The jolly tar cried, in a rapture unbounded: 
" Why, d ash my eyes, Jove, but I have 

you again ; 
You may boast of your city, and Mars of his 

walling; 
But while I'm afloat, I'll stick to it that 

mine 
Beats yours into rope-yam, in spite of your 

bawling, 
Just as snuSy old Tiber is flogged by the 

brine ; 

And he who the difference cannot discern 
Is a lob-sided lubber from bowsprit to stern. 

" Very free, indeed ! " you will say. It 
might have been worse, if I had staid at 
college a year or two longer, or ff I had 
been elevated to a place in the Triennial 
Catalogue, thus : 

* PAULUS POTTER, LL.D., S. T. D., Ba- 
rat. V. Gubernator, Lit. Hum. Prof., 
e Cong., Praese.s Rerumpub. Fred., A. 
B. Yal., M.D. Dart., D.D. Dart., P.O. 

V. Mon., etc., etc., etc. 



I have put myself down stelliger, be- 
cause it is certain, that, after obtaining 
all the above honors, if not an inmate of 
the cold and silent tomb, I should be false 
to my duties as a member of society, and 
a nuisance to my fellow-creatures. The 
little anachronism of translating after be- 
ing translated you will also pardon ; and 
talking of the tomb, let us return to San- 
nazarius. I pray that your nicely noble 
nose may not be ofiended by the tarry 
flavor of my version. You will find the 
Latin in Howell's " Survey of Venice," 
1651, a book so thoroughly useless, and 
so scarce withal, that I am sure it must 
be in your library. By the way, as you 



54 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



[January, 



have written travels in all parts of this 
and other worlds, without so much as 
stirring from your arm-chair, and have 
calmly and coolly published the same, I 
must quote to you the rebuke of Howell, 
who says, " He would not have adventur- 
ed upon the remote, outlandish subject, 
had he not bin himself upon the place ; 
had he not had practicall conversation 
with the people of whom he writes." This 
veracious person very properly dedicated 
his book to the saints in Parliament as- 
sembled, many of whom had, soon aftM^ 
ample leisure for perusing the fat folSf 
Nor is it perfectly certain that you have 
read the book, although you may own it ; 
since it is your sublime pleasure to collect 
books like Guiccardini's History, which 
somebody went to the galleys rather than 
read through. 

But let us return, my dear Bobus, to 
the money question. Know, then, that 
the Sannazarian performance above quot- 
ed, so different from the language of the 
malignant and turbaned Turks, filled with 
rapture le first Senator and the second 
Senator4md all the other Senators men- 
tioned in Act I., Scene 3, of "Othello," so 
that, in grand committee, and, for all I 
know to the contrary, with Brabantio in 
the chair, they voted to the worthy au- 
thor a reward of three hundred zechins, 
or, to state it cambistieally in our own be- 
loved Columbian currency, $1,233.20, 
this being the highest literary remuner- 
ation upon record, if we except the un- 
told sums lavished by " The New York 
Blotter " upon the fascinating author of 
" Steel and Strychnine ; or, the Dagger 
and the Bowl." But as we have had 
enough of Sannazarius, let us leave him 
with the gentle hope that, his check was 
cashed in specie at the Rialto Bank, and 
that he made a good use of the money. 

Now, dear^Don, in the great case of 
Virtue vs. Money, I appear for the de- 
fendant. Confound Virtue, say I, and 
the whole tribe of the Virtuous ! I am 
as weary of both as was that sensible 
Athenian of hearing Aristides called The 
Just ; and if I had been there, and a legal 
s voter, I know into which box my humble 



oyster-shell would have been plumped. 
Such was the vile, self-complacent habit 
of the Athenians, that I suspect the 
best fellows then wore not good fellows 
at all. And what did the son of Lysim- 
achus make by being recalled from ban- 
ishment ? He died so poor, that he was 
buried at the public charge, and left 
a couple of daughters as out-door pen- 
sioners upon public charity. The Athe- 
nians, I aver, were a duncified race ; and 
it would have pleased me hugely to have 
been in the neighborhood when Alcibi- 
ades rescinded his dog's charming tail, 
a fine practical protest, although unpleas- 
ant to the dog. Virtue may be well 
enough by way of variety ; but for a 
good, steady, permanent pleasure, com- 
mend me to Avarice ! Yes, O my Bobus, 
I, who was once, as to money, "still in 
motion of raging waste," and, like Timou, 
" senseless of expense," I, who have 
many a time borrowed cash of you with 
amiable recklessness, and have never 
asked you to take it back again, I, 
who have had many a race with the 
constable, and have sometimes been 
overtaken, I, who have in my callow 
days spoken disrespectfully of Mammon 
in several charming copies of verses, I 
am waxing sordid. I am for the King 
of Lydia against Solon. HOTV do I know 
that the insolent Cyrus was not blandish- 
ed out of his bloodthirsty intention of 
roasting his deposed brother by a little 
cash which the son of Gyges had saved 
out of the wide, weltering wreck of his 
wealth, and had concealed in his boots? 
Royal palms were not wholly free from 
pruritus even then. Why has this silly 
world still persisted in putting long ears 
upon Midas ? I do not know whether 
he sang better or worse than Apollo ; and 
I am sure it is much better, and bespeaks 
more sense, to play the flute ill than to 
play it well. Depend upon it, his Maj- 
esty of Phrygia has been very much 
abused by the mythologists. With that 
particular skill of his, (luring an epidemic 
of the brevitas pecuniaria, (Angl. shorts.) 
he would have been just the person to 
coax into one's house of accompt, at five 



185D.] 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



55 



minutes before two o'clock in the after- 
noon, to work a little involuntary trans- 
mutation, to change the coal-scuttle into 
ingots, and the ruler into a great, gorged, 
glittering rouleau. So little would his 
auricular eccentricity have hindered his 
welcome, that I verily believe he would 
have been heartily received, if he had 
come with ensanguined chaps straight 
from the pillory, and had left both ears 
nailed to the post. 

Don't talk to me about filthy lucre ! 
Pray, when would Sheikh Tuhar, that em- 
inent Koordish saint, have become con- 
vinced that he was a great sinner, if they 
had not carried about the contribution- 
boxes in the little New England church- 
es ? Do you think it has cost nothing to 
demonstrate to the widows of Scindiah 
the folly of suttee f Don't you know that 
it has been an expensive work to per- 
suade the Khonds of Goomsoor to give 
up roasting each other in the name 
of Heaven V Very fine is Epictetus, 
but will he be your bail ? Will Diog- 
enes bring home legs of mutton ? Can 
you breakfast upon the simpte fact that 
riches have wings and use them ? Can 
you lunch upon vanita* vanitatumf Are 
loaves and fishes intrinsically wicked ? 
As for Virtue, we have the opinion of 
Horace hflfeelf, that it is viler than the 
vilest weed, without fortune to support it. 
Poets, of all men, are supposed to live 
most easily upon air; and yet, Don Bob, 
is not a fat poet, like Jamie Thomson, 
quite likely, although plumper than be- 
seems a bard, to be ten thousand times 
healthier in his singing than my Lord 
Byron thinning himself upon cold pota- 
toes and vinegar ? Do you think that 
Ovid cuts a very respectable figure, 
blubbering on the Euxine shore and 
sending penitential letters to Augustus 
and afterward to Tiberius ? He was a 
poor puppy, and as well deserved to 
have three wives as any sinner I ever 
heard of. Don't you think, that, if the 
cities of Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Sal- 
amis, Rhodes, Argos, and Athens had 
given over disputing about the birth- 
place of the author of the " Iliad " and 



other poems, and had " pooled in " a 
handsome sum to send him to a blind 
asylum, it would have been a sensible 
proceeding ? Do you think Milton would 
have written less sublimely, if he had 
been more prosperous V Do you think 
Otway choking, or Hudibras Butler 
dying by inches of slow starvation, 
pleasant to look upon ? Are we to keep 
any terms with the thin-visaged jade, 
Poverty,, after she has broken down a 
great soul like John Dryden's ? That 

a very foolish notion which has so 
g and so universally prevailed, that 
a poet must, by the necessity of the 
case, be poor. David was reckoned an 
eminent bard in his day, and he was a 
king ; and Solomon, another sweet singer, 
was a king also. Depend \ipon it, no 
man sings, or thinks, or, if he be a man, 
works, the worse for being tolerably pro- 
vided for in basket and pocket-money. 

Objectively considered, I say that there 
is not in this world a sadder sight, one so 
touchingly suggestive of departed joys, 
departed never to return, a^l^ pocket- 
book, fiat, planed, exenterate^p;rushed 
by the elephantine foot of Fate, nor is 
there one so ridiculous, inutile, imper- 
tinent, possibly reproachful and disagree- 
ably didactic. Think of it, Don Bob, 
for you in your day, as I in mine, have 
seen it. 'Tis so much leather stripped 
from the innocent beast, and cured and 
colored and polished and stamped to 
no purpose, with a prodigious show of 
empty compartments, like bamjuet-halls 
deserted. It has a clasp to mount guard 
over nothing, a clasp made of steel 
digged from the bowels of the earth, and 
smelted and hammered and burnished, 
only to keep watch and ward after the 
thief has made his visit leisurely. 'Tis 
an egregious chaos. 'Tis an absurd 
vacuum. To make it still more un- 
pleasant, there arc your memoranda. 
You are reminded that upon Thursday 
last you purchased butter flavous, or 
chops rosy ; but where is hint, sign, di- 
rection, or instruction touching the pur- 
chase of either upon Thursday next ? 
How much would it have helped poof 



5G 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



[January, 



must 
taW 



Belisaritis, in his sore estate, if he had 
kept a record of his household expenses, 
as my friend Minimus does ? By the 
same token, he sometimes makes odd 
misentries, pious figurative fictions, in 
order to save the feelings of Mrs. Mini- 
mus, who is auditor-general and comp- 
troller of the household. And speaking 
of Belisarius, just fancy the hard fate of 
that gallant and decayed soldier ! Figure 
him left naked by the master whom he 
had served so well, crying out for a 
beggarly obolus ! Now this, you 
know, was one of the least respects 
coins of ancient times, being of about 
the value of one farthing sterling. If 
the poor man had got his pattered old 
helmet full of them, the ponderous alms 
would not have driven the wolf gaunt and 
grinning many paces from his squalid 
home, always admitting that he had any 
home, however squalid, to crawl into at 
sunset. And how often he crouched ami 
whined, white-headed and bare-headed 
all day, and did not get a lepton (which 
was, in jrfue, thirty-one three hundred 
thirty-si^nsiof an English farthing) for 
his pains ! 'Tis such a pitiful story, that 
I am truly ghid that the eminent German 
scholar, Nicotinus of Heidelberg, in his 
work' upon the Greek Particle, has pretty 
clearly shown (Vol. xxviii. pp. 2850 to 
5945) that the story may be regarded 
as a myth, illustrating the great, eternal, 
and universal danger of ultimate seedi- 
ness, in which the most prosperous crea- 
tui'es live. And just think of Napoleon 
squabbling, about wine with Sir Hudson 
Lowe, the hero of Arcola, without cour- 
age enough to hang himself. Now you 
will notice, my dear friend, that he did 
not lose his dignity, until, with true Brit- 
ish instinct, they took away his cash, and 
even opened his letters to confiscate his 
remittances. He should have hidden the 
imperial spoons in a secret pocket. He 
should, at least, have saved a sixpence 
wherewithal to buy Mr. Alison. 

You may think, dear Don, that my 
views are exceedingly sordid. I readily 
admit that all the philosophy and poetry, 
I suppose I must add the morality, 



of the world are against me. I know 
that it is prettier to turn up one'fr nose at 
ready cash. I have not found, indeed, 
that for the poetical pauper, in his proper 
person, the world, whether sentimental or 
stolid, has any deep reverence. Will old 
Jacob Plum, who lives on an unapproach- 
ably high avenue, his house-front and 
his heart of the same material, and who 
made two mints of money in the patent 
poudrette, come to my shabby little attic in 
Nassau Street, and ask me to dinner sim- 
ply because " The Samos (111.) Aristar- 
chean " has spoken with condescending 
blandness of my poems ? I know that Miss 
Plum dotes upon my productions. I know 
that she pictures me to herself as a Cory- 
don in sky-blue smalls and broad-brimmed 
straw hat, playing elegies in five fiats, or 
driving the silly sheep home through the 
evening shades. Now, whatever else I 
may be, I am not that. I keep my re- 
finement for gala-days; I do not shave, 
because I would save sixpences ; I do not 
wear purple and fine linen. I should be 
a woful disappointment to Mistress Plum ; 
for I like beer with my beef, and a heart- 
easing tug at ni}' pipe afterwards ; and 
as for the album, we should never get 
along at all, for I have too much respect, 
for poetry to write it for nothing. But if 
I have not wholly escaped the shiftless- 
ness and improvidence of my vocation, 
if I have never rightly comprehended 
the noble maxim, " A penny saved is a 
penny gained," (which cannot in rigid 
mathesis be true, because by saving the 
penny you miss the enjoyment : that is, 
half-and-half, chops, or cheese, which the 
penny aforesaid would purchase ; so that 
the penny saved is no better than peb- 
bles which you may gather by the bushel 
upon any shore,) if I like to haunt Old 
Tom's, and talk of polities and poetry 
with the dear shabby set who nightly 
gather there, and are so fraternally blind 
to the holes in each other's coats, why it 
is all a matter between myself and Mrs. 
Potter, and perhaps the clock. We have 
a good, stout, manly supper, no Apician 
kickshaws, the triumphs of palate-science, 
no nightingales' tongues, no peacocks' 



1859.] 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



57 



brains, no French follies, but just a rash- 
er or so, in its naked and elegant sim- 
plicity. Montaigne's cook, who treated 
of his art with a settled countenance and 
magisterial gravity, would have turned his 
nose skyward at our humble repast ; and 
he would have cast like scorn upon that 
to which Milton with such charming grace 
invited his friend, in one of those match- 
. less sonnets which make us weep to think 
that the author did not write a hundred 
of them. But Montaigne's cook may 
follow his first master, the late Cardinal 
Caraffa, to that place where there will 
always be fire for his saucepans ! The 
epicures of Old Tom's would deal veYy 
crisply with that spit bearing Italian, or 
his shade, should it appear to them. We 
are not very polished, but most of us could 
give hints to men richer than we can 
hope to be of a wiser use of money than 
the world is in any danger of witnessing. 
There is Old Sanders, the proof-reader, 
" illegitimate S." we call him, who knows 
where there is an exquisite black-letter 
Chaucer which he pants to possess, and 
which he would possess, were it not'for a 
fear of Mrs. Sanders and a tender love 
of the little Sanderses. There is young 
Smooch, he who smashed the Fly-Gal- 
lery in " The Mahlstick " newspaper, and 
was not for a moment taken in by the 
new Titian. There is Crosshatch, who 
has the marvellous etching by Rem- 
brandt, of which there are only three 
copies in the world, and which he will 
not sell, no, Sir, not to the British 
Museum. There is Mr. Brevier Lead, 
who has in my time successively and suc- 
-t'ully smitten and smashed all the pot- 
entates, big and little, of Europe, and 
who has in his museum a wooden model 
of the Alsop bomb. Give them money, 
and Sanders will rebuild and refurnish the 
Alexandrian Library, Smooch will bid 
every young painter in America reset his 
palette and try again, and Brevier Lead 
will be fool enough to start a newspaper 
upon his own account, and, while his 
purse holds out to bleed, will make it a 
good one. But until all these high and 
mighty things happen, until we come 



into our property, we must make the 
best of matters. I know a clever Broad- 
way publisher, who, if I were able to 
meet the expenses, would bring out my 
minor poems in all the pomp of cream- 
laid paper, and with all the circumstance 
of velvet binding, with illustrations by 
Darley, and with favorable notices in all 
the newspapers. I should cut a fine fig- 
ure, metaphorically, if not arithmetically 
speaking ; whereas my farthing rush-light 
is now sputtering, clinkering, and gutter- 
to waste, and all because I have not 
ir of silver snuffers. If you wish me 
to move the world, produce your lever ! 
Your wealthy bard has at least audience ; 
and if he cannot sing, he may thank his 
own hoarse throat, and not the Destinies. 
For myself, dear Don Bob, having 
come into my inheritance of oblivion 
while living, having in vain called upon 
Fame to sound the trumpet, which I am 
sure is so obstinately plugged that it will 
never syllable my name, having reso- 
lutely determined to be nobody, I do 
not waste my sympathy upon nMKelf, but 
generously bestow it upon a tno^bf fine 
fellows in all ages, who deserved, but did 
not grasp, a better fortune. All that live 
in human recollection are but a handful 
to the tribes that have been forgotten. 
You will be kind enough, my sardonic 
friend, to repress your sneers. I tell you 
that a great many worthy gentlemen and 
ladies have been shouldered out of the 
Pantheon who deserved at least a corner, 
and who would not while living have 
given sixpence to insure immortality, so 
certain were they of monuments hartler 
than brass. The murrain among the 
poets is the severest. For, in the first 
place, a fine butterfly may have a pin 
stuck through his stomach even while 
living. There are Bavius and Maevius, 
who have been laughed at since Virgil 
wrote his Third Eclogue. Now why 
does the world laugh ? What does the 
world know of either ? They were stupid 
and malevolent, were they ? Pray, how 
do you know that they wore ? You have 
Virgil's word for it. But how do you know 
that Virgil was just ? It might have been 



58 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



[January, 



the east wind ; it might have been an in- 
digestion ; it might have been Virgil's 
vanity ; it might have been all a mistake. 
When a man has once been thoroughly 
laughed down, people take his stupidity 
for granted ; and although he may grow 
as wise as Solomon, living he is consid- 
ered a fool, dying he is regarded as a 
fool, and dead he is remembered as a 
fool. Do you not suppose that very re- 
spectable folk were pilloried in the " Dun- 
ciad " ? My own opinion is, that a person 
must have had some merit, or he wcudfe 
not have been put there at all. Ilnr 
many of those who laugh at Dennis and 
Shadwell know anything of either ? And 
let me ask you if the Pope set had such 
a superabundance of heart, that you 
would have been willing, with childlike 
confidence, to submit your own verses to 
their criticism ? For myself, I am free 
to say that I have no patience with satir- 
ists. I never knew a just one. I never 
heard of a fair one. They are a mean, 
malicious, murdering tribe, they are a 
supercil^us, dogmatical, envious, suspi- 
cious cd^>any, knocking down their fel- 
low-creatures in the name of Virtue for 
their own gratification, mere Mohawks, 
kept by family influence out of the lock- 
up. 

But of all Mohawks, Time is the fier- 
cest. If I were upon the high road to 
fame, if I had honestly determined to 
win immortality or perish in the attempt, 
I should look upon the gentleman with 
no clothing except a scanty forelock, and 
with no personal property save his scythe 
and hour-glass, as my greatest enemy, 
and I should behold the perpetual efforts 
made to kill him with perfect complacen- 
cy. This, I know, is not regarded as a 
strictly moral act; for this murderer of 
murderers is very much caressed by those 
who, in the name of Moses, would send 
a poor devil to his hempen destiny for 
striking an unlucky blow. How con- 
tinually is it beaten upon the juvenile 
tympanum, "Be careful of Time," 
" Time is money," " Make much of 
Time " ! Certainly, I do not know what 
N he has done to merit consideration so 



tender. The best that can be said of old 
Edax Rerum is that he has an unfailing 
appetite, and is not very fastidious about 
his provender, and that, if he does take 
heavy toll of the wheat, he also rids the 
world of no small amount of chaff. But 
'tis such a prodigious maw ! 

You think, Don Bob, that you know 
the name of every man who has distin- 
guished himself since the days of Deu- 
calion and Pyrrha. Let us see how much 
you know. I believe that in your day 
you had something to do with the new 
edition of the Aldine Poets. I therefore 
ask you, in the name of an outraged 
gentleman, who is too dead to say much 
for himself, why you left out of the series 
my friend Mr. Robert Baston. You have 
used Baston very ill. Baston was an Eng- 
lish poet. Baston lived in the fourteenth 
century, and wove verses in Nottingham. 
When proud Edward went to Scotland, 
he took Baston along with him to sing his 
victories. Unhappily, Bruce caged the 
bird, and compelled him to amend his 
finest poems by striking out " Edward," 
wherever the name of that revered mon- 
arch occurred, and inserting " Robert," 
which, as I have said, he was obliged to 
do, and a very ridiculous mess the pro- 
cess must have made of Mr. Baston's 
productions. This is all I know of Bas- 
ton ; but is not this enough to melt the 
toughest heart ? No wonder he pro- 
logued his piping after the following dis- 
mal fashion : 

" In dreary verse ray rhymes I make, 
Bewailing whilst such theme I take." 

However, Baston was a monk of the 
Carmelite species, and I hope he bore 
his agonies with religious bravery. 

And now let us make a skip down to 
Charles Aleyn, temp. Charles I. " of bless- 
ed memory." A Sidney collegian of Cam- 
bridge, he began life as an usher in the 
celebrated school of Thomas Farnably, 
another great man of whom you never 
heard, O Don ! a famous school, in Gold- 
smith's Rents, near Red-Cross Street, in 
the Parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate. 
Those were stirring times ; but Aleyn 
managed to write, before he died, in 



18,39.] 



The Hlmtrious Obscure. 



59 



1640, a rousing great poem, intituled, 
" The Battailes of Crescey and Poictiers, 
under the Fortunes and Valour of King 
Edward the Third of that Name, and his 
Soime, Edward, Prince of Wales, sur- 
namcd The Black." 8vo. 1633. Let me 
give you a taste of his quality, in the fol- 
lowing elaborate catalogue of the curiosi- 
ties of a battle-field : 

" Here a hand severed, there an ear was 

cropped ; 
Here a chap fallen, and there an eye put 

out; 
Here was an arm lopped off, there a nose 

dropped ; 
Here half a man, and there a less piece 

fought; 

Like to dismembered statues they did stand, 
Which had been mangled by Time's iron 
hand." 

This is prosaic enough, and might have 
been written by a surgical student ; but 
this is better : 

" The artificial wood of spears was wet 

With yet warm blood; and trembling in 

the wind, 

Did rattle like the thorns which Nature set 
On the rough hide of an armed porcu- 
pine; 
Or looked like the trees which dropped 

gore, 
Plucked from the tomb of slaughtered Poly- 

dore." 
So much for Mr. Charles Aleyn. 

But it is at the theatre, as you may well 
believe, that poets live and die most like 
the blithesome grasshoppers. The poor 
players, marvellous compounds of tin, 
feathers, and tiffany, fret' but a brief 
hour; but the playwright, less consider- 
ed alive, is sooner defunct I have not 
Dodsley's Plays by me, but, if my mem- 
ory does not deceive me, not one of them 
keeps the stage ; nor did dear Charles 
Lamb make many in love "with that huge 
heap in the British Museum. Alas ! all 
these good people, now grown so rusty, 
fusty, and forgotten, might have rolled 
under their tongues, as a sweet morsel, 
those lines which civil Abraham Cowley 
sent to Leviathan Hobbes : 

"To things immortal Time can do no wrong; 
And that which never Is to die forever must 
be young." 



Alas ! they had great first nights and 
glorious third nights, lords and ladies 
smiled and the groundlings were affable, 
they lived in a paradise of compliment 
and cash, and then were no better off 
than the garreteer who took his damna- 
tion comfortably early upon the first 
night, and ran back to his den to whim- 
per with mortification and to tremble 
with cold. There is worthy Mr. Shak- 
speare, of whom an amiable writer kind- 
ly said, in 1 723, " There is certainly a 
It deal of entertainment in his coin- 
humors, and a pleasing and well- 
distinguished variety in those characters 
which he thought fit to meddle with. His 
images are indeed everywhere so lively, 
that the thing he would represent stands 
full before you, and you possess every 
part of it. His sentiments are great and 
natural, and his expression just, and rais- 
ed in proportion to the subject and occa- 
sion." You may laugh at this as much 
as you please, Don Bob ; but I think it 
quite as sensible as many of the criticisms 
of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., as^hat one 
of his, for instance, upon " Meapjre for 
Measure," which I never read without a 
feeling of personal injury. I should like 
to know if it is writing criticism to write, 
" Of this play, the light or comic part is 
very natural and pleasing ; but the grave 
scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have 
more labor than elegance." Now, if old 
Boltcourt had written instead, as he might 
have done, if the fit had been on him, 
" Of this play, the heavy or tragic part is 
very natural and pleasing; but the comic 
scenes, if a few passages be excepted, 
have more labor than elegance," his 
remark would have been quite as sono- 
rous, and just a little nearer the truth. 
For my own part, I think there is nothing 
finer in all Shakspeare than the interview 
between Angelo and Isabella, in the Sec- 
ond Act, or that exquisite outburst of the 
latter, afterward, " Not with fond shekels 
of the tested gold," which is a line the sug- 
ar of which you can sensibly taste as you 
read it. Incledon used to wish that his 
old music-master could come down from 
heaven to Norwich, and could take the 



60 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



[January, 



coach up to London to hear that d d 
Jew sing, referring thus civilly to the re- 
spectable John Braham. I have some- 
tunes wished that Shakspeare could 
make a similar descent, and face his 
critics. Ah ! how much he could tell us 
over a single bottle of Rosa Soils at some 
new " Mermaid'" extemporized for the oc- 
casion ! What wild work would he make 
with the commentators long before we 
had exhausted the ordinate cups ! and 
how, after we had come to the inordi- 
nate, would he be with difficulty pre- 
vented from marching at once to break 
the windows of his latest glossator ! If 
anything could make one sick of "the 
next age," it would be the shabby treat- 
ment which the Avonian has received. I 
do not wonder that the illustrious authors 
of " Salmagundi " said, " We bequeathe 
our first volume to future generations, 
and much good may it do them ! Heaven 
grant they may be able to read it ! " See- 
ing that contemporary fame is the most 
profitable, that you can eat it, and drink 
it, and wear it upon your back, I own 
that it ms the kind for which I have 
the most absolute partiality. It is sure- 
ly better to be spoken well of by your 
neighbors, who do know you, than by 
those who do not know you, and Avho, if 
they commend, may do so by sheer acci- 
dent. 

You never heard of Mr. Horden, of 
Charles Knipe, of Thomas Lupon, of 
Edward Revet ? Great men all, in their 
day ! So there was Mr. John Smith, 
clarum et venerabile nomen ! who in 
1677 wrote a comedy called "Cytherea; 
or, the Enamoring Girdle." So there 
was Mr. Swinney, who wrote one play 
called " The Quacks." So there was Mr. 
John Tutchin, 1685, who wrote " The 
Unfortunate Shepherd." So there is 
Mr. William Smith, Mr. H. Smith, au- 
thor of " The Princess of Parma," and 
Mr. Edmund Smith, 1710, author of 
" Phedra and Hippolytus," who is buried 
in Wiltshire, under a Latin inscription 
as long as my arm. There is Thomas 
Yalden, D.D., 1690, who helped Dryden 
"and Congreve in the translation of Ovid, 



who wrote a Hymn to Morning, com- 
mencing vigorously thus : 

' Parent of Day ! whose beauteous beams of 

light 

Sprang from the darksome womb of 
night! " 

and who was a great friend of Addison, 
which is the best I know of him. He 
might have been, like Sir Philip Sidney, 
" scholar, soldier, lover, saint," for Doc- 
tors of Divinity have been all four, but 
I declare that I have told you all I have 
learned about him. 

It is grievous to me, dear Bobus, a 
man of notorious gallantry, to find that 
the ladies, after consenting to smirch their 
rosy fingers with Erebean ink, are among 
the first who are discarded. If you will 
go into the College Library, Mr. Sibley 
wjll show you a charming copy of the 
works of Mrs. Behn, with a roguish, 
rakish, tempting little portrait of the 
writer prefixed. Poor Mrs. Behn was a 
notability as well as a notoriety in her 
day ; and when I have great leisure for 
the work, I mean to write her life and do 
her justice. The task would have been 
worthy of De Foe ; but, with a little help 
from you, I hope to do it passably. Poor 
Aphra ! poet, dramatist, intriguant strum- 
pet ! Worthy of no better fate, take my 
benison of light laughter and of tears ! 
Then there is Mrs. Elizabeth Singer, who 
was living in 1723, who selected as the 
subject of her work nothing less than the 
Creation, and who was a woman of great 
religion. Her poem commences patron- 
izingly thus : 

" Hail ! mighty Maker of the Universe ! 
My song shall still thy glorious deeds re- 
hearse. 

Tliy praise, whatever subject others choose, 
Shall be the lofty theme of my aspiring 
Muse." 

Elizabeth was a Somersetshire woman, a 
clothier's daughter ; and if she had thrown 
away her lyre and gone back to the dis- 
taff', I do not think Parnassus would have 
broken its heart. Then there is our fair 
friend, Mrs. Molesworth. Her father was 
a Right Honorable Irish peer of the same 
name, who had some acquaintance, if not 



1859.] 



The Illustrious Obscure. 



61 



a friendlier connection, with John Locke. 
Her Muse was rather high-skirted, as 
you may believe, when you read this 
epitaph : 

" O'er this marble drop a tear! 

Here lies fair Rosalinde; 
All mankind was pleased with her, 
And she with all mankind." 

Let me introduce you to one more lady. 
This is Mrs. Wiseman, dear Don ! She 
was of " poor, but honest " parentage ; and 
if she did wash the dishes of Mr. Re- 
corder Wright of Oxford, she did better 
than my Lady Hamilton or my Lady 
Blessington of later times. Mrs. Wise- 
man read novels and plays, and, of course, 
during the intervals of domestic drudg- 
ery, began to write a drama, which she 
finished after she went to London. It was 
of high-sounding title, for it was called, 
" Antiochus the Great ; or, the Fatal 
Relapse." Who relapsed so fatally 
whether Antiochus with his confidant, or 
his wife with her confidante, or Ptolemy 
Pater with his confidant, or Epiphanes 
with bis confidant is more than I can tell. 
Indeed, I am not sure that I know which 
Antiochus was honored by Mrs. Wise- 
man's Muse. Whether it was Antiochus 
Soter, or Antiochus Theos, or Antiochus 
the Great, or Antiochus the Epiphanous 
or Illustrious, or Antiochus Eupator, or 
Antiochus Eutheus, or Antiochus Sidetes, 
or Antiochus Grypus, or Antiochus Cy- 
zenicus, or Antiochus Pius, the greatest 
rogue of the whole dynasty, or Antiochus 
Asiaticus, who " used up " the family en- 
tirely in Syria is more than I can tell. 
Indeed, Antiochus was such a favorite 
name with kings, that, without seeing the 
play, and I have not seen it, I cannot 
inform you which Antiochus we are talk- 
ing about. Possibly it was the Antiochus 
who went into a fever for the love of 
Stratonice ; and if so, please to notice 
that this was the wicked Antiochus Soter, 
the son of Seleucus, and the scapegrace 
who married his mother-in-law, by the 



advice of the family-doctor, while his fond 
father stood tearfully by and gave away 
the bride. After such a scandalous piece 
of business, I shall have nothing more to 
do with the family, but shall gladly return' 
to our talented friend, Mrs. Wiseman. 
She brought out her work at the Theatre 
Royal in 1706, "with applause"; and the 
play, I am glad to inform you, brought 
in money, so that an enterprising young 
vintner, by the name of Holt, besought 
her hand, and won it. With the profits 
of "Antiochus " they established a tavern 
in Westminster, and the charming Wise- 
man with her own hand drew pots of 
half-and-half, or mixed punch for the 
company. I should very much like to 
see two-thirds of our many poet-esses 
doing the same thing. 

But enough, probably too much, of 
this skimble-skamble ! If you will look 
into a copy of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, 
(Worcester's edition,) you will find the 
names of nearly a thousand English au- 
thors cited in alphabetical order as au- 
thorities. Of these it is safe to say that 
not more than one hundred are remem- 
bered by the general reader. Such is 
Fame ! Such is the jade who leads us 
up hill and down, through jungles and 
morasses, into deep waters and into 
swamps, through thick weather and thin, 
under blue skies and brown ones, in heat 
and in cold, hungry and thirsty and rag- 
ged, and heart-sore and foot-sore, now 
hopeful and now hopeless, now striding 
and now stumbling, now exultant and 
now despairing, now singing, now sigh- 
ing, and now swearing, up to her dilap- 
idated old temple. And when we get 
there, we find Dr. Beattie, in a Scotch 
wig, washing the face of young Edwin ! 
A man of your pounds would be a fool 
to undertake the journey ; but if you will 
be such a fool, you must go without the 
company of 

Your terrestrial friend, 

PAUL POTTER. 



62 



'The New Life" of Dante. 



[January, 



THE NEW LIFE" OF DANTE. 



I. 



" AT that season," says Boccaccio, in 
his Life of Dante, " when the sweetness 
of heaven reclothes the earth with its 
adornments, and makes it all smiling 
with flowers among the green leaves, it 
was the custom in our city for the men 
and for the ladies to celebrate festivals in 
their own streets in separate companies. 
Wherefore it happened, that, among the 
rest, Folco Portinari, a man held in much 
honor in those times among the citizens, 
had collected his neighbors at a feast in 
his own house on the first of May. Among 
them was the before-named Alighieri, 
and, as little boys are wont to follow 
their fathers, especially to festive places, 
Dante, whose ninth year was not yet fin- 
ished, accompanied him. It happened, 
that here, with others of his age, of whom, 
both boys and girls, there were many at 
the house of the entertainer, he gave him- 
self to merry-making, after a childish fash- 
ion. Among the crowd of children was a 
little daughter of Folco, whose name was 
Bice, though this was derived from her 
original name, which was Beatrice. She 
was, perhaps, eight years old, a pretty 
little thing in a childish way, very gentle 
and pleasing in her actions, and much 
more sedate and modest in her man- 
ners and words than her youthful age 
required. Beside this, she had very del- 
icate features, admirably proportioned, 
and full, in addition to their beauty, of 
such openness and charm, that she was 
looked upon by many as a little angel. 
She then, such as I depict her, or rather, 
far more beautiful, appeared at this feast 
before the eyes of our Dante, not, I 
believe, for the first time, but first with 
power to enamor him. And although 
still a child, he received her image into 
his heart with such affection, that, from 
that day forward, never, as long as he 
lived, did it leave him." * 

* Vila di Dante. Milan, 1823, pp. 29, 30. 



It was partly from tradition, partly 
from the record which Dante himself had 
left of it, that Boccaccio drew his account 
of this scene. In the Vita Auora, " The 
New Life," Dante has written the first 
part of the history of that love which 
began at this festival, and which, grow- 
ing with his growth, became, not many 
years after, the controlling passion of 
his life. Nothing is better or more com- 
monly known about Dante than his love 
for Beatrice ; but the course of that love, 
its relation to his external and public life, 
its moulding effect upon his character, 
have not been clearly traced. The love 
which lasted from his boyhood to his 
death, keeping his heart fresh, spite of 
the scorchings of disappointment, with 
springs of perpetual solace, the love 
which, purified and spiritualized by the 
bitterness of separation and trial, led him 
through the hard paths of Philosophy and 
up the steep ascents of Faith, bringing 
him out of Hell and through Purgatory 
to the glories of Paradise and the fulfil- 
ment of Hope, such a love is not only a 
spiritual experience, but it is also a disci- 
pline of character whose results are ex- 
hibited in the continually renewed strug- 
gles of life. 

The earthly story of this love, of its 
beginning, its irregular course, its hopes 
and doubts, its exaltations and despairs, 
its sudden interruption and transforma- 
tion by death, is the story which the " Vita 
Nuova" tells. The narrative is quaint, 
embroidered with conceits, deficient in 
artistic completeness, but it has the 
naivete and simplicity of youth, the 
charm of sincerity, the freedom of per- 
sonal confidence ; and so long as there 
are lovers in the world, so long as lov- 
ers are poets, so long will this first and 
tenderest love-story of modern literature 
be read with appreciation and responsive 
sympathy. 

But " The New Life " has an interest of 
another sort and a claim, not yet sulti- 



1859.] 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



63 



ciently acknowledged, upon all who would 
read the " Uivina Commedia" with fit 
appreciation, in that it contains the first 
hint of the great poem itself, and fur- 
nishes for it a special, interior, imagina- 
tive introduction, without the knowledge 
of which it is not thoroughly to be under- 
stood. The character of Beatrice, as 
she appears in the " Divina Commedia," 
the relation in which the poet stands to 
her, the motive of the dedication of the 
poem to her honor and memory, and 
many minor allusions, are all explained 
or illustrated by the aid of the " Vita 
Nuova. " Dante's works and life are in- 
terwoven as are those of no other of the 
poets who have written for all time. No 
other has so written his autobiography. 
With Dante, external impressions and 
internal experiences sights, actions, 
thoughts, emotions, sufferings were all 
fused into poetry as they passed into his 
soul. Practical life and imaginative life 
were with him one and indissoluble. Not 
only was the life of imagination as real to 
him as the life of fact, but the life of fact 
was clothed upon by that of imagina- 
tion ; so that, on the one hand, daily 
events and common circumstances be- 
came a part of his spiritual experience 
in a far more intimate sense than is the 
case with other men, while, on the other, 
his fancies and his visions assumed the 
absoluteness and the literal existence of 
positive external facts. The remotest 
flights of his imagination never carry 
him where his sight becomes dim. His 
journey through the spiritual world was 
no less real to him than his journeys be- 
tween Florence and Rome, or his wan- 
derings between Verona and Ravenna. 
So absolute was his imagination, that it 
often so far controls his reader as to 
make it difficult not to believe that the 
poet beheld with his mortal eyes the in- 
visible scenes which he describes. Boc- 
caccio relates, that, after that part of the 
' Commedia " which treats of Hell had 
become famous it happened one day in 
Verona, that Dante " passed before a 
door where several women were sitting, 
and one of them, in a low voice, yet not 



so but that she was well heard by him 
and his companion, said to another wom- 
an : ' See that man who goes through 
Hell and comes back when he pleases, 
and brings news of those who are down 
there ! ' And then one of them replied 
simply : ' Indeed, what you say must be 
true; for do you not see how his beard 
is crisped and his face brown with the 
heat and smoke of it ? ' " * 

From this close relation between his 
life and his works, the "Vita Nuova" 
has a peculiar interest, as the- earliest of 
Dante's writings, and the most autobio- 
graphic of them in its form and intention. 
In it we are brought into intimate per- 
sonal relations with the poet. He trusts 
himself to us with full and free confi- 
dence ; but there is no derogation from 
becoming manliness in his confessions. 
He draws the picture of a portion of his 
youth, and lays bare its tenderest emo- 
tions ; but he does so with no morbid self- 
consciousness, and no affectation. Part 
of this simplicity is due, undoubtedly, to 
the character of the times, part to his 
own youthfulness, part to downright faith 
in his own genius. It was the fashion for 
poets to tell of their loves ; in following 
the fashion, he not only gave expression 
to real feeling, but claimed his rank among 
the poets, and set a new style, from which 
love-poetry was to take a fresh date. 

This first essay of his poetic powers 
exhibits the foundation upon which his 
later life was built. The figure of Bea- 
trice, which appears veiled under the 
allegory, and indistinct in the bright 
cloud of the mysticism of the " Divina 
Commedia," takes her place in life and 
on the earth through the " Vita Nuova," 
as definitely as Dante himself. She is 
no allegorized piece of humanity, no im- 
personation of attributes, but an actual 
woman, beautiful, modest, gentle, with 
companions only less beautiful than her- 
self, the most delightful figure in the 
midst of the picturesque life of Florence. 
She 5s seen smiling and weeping, walking 
with stately maidenly decorum in the 
street, praying at the church, merry at 
* \Hi Ji Dante, p. 69. 



64 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



[January, 



festivals, mourning at funerals ; and her 
smiles and tears, her gentleness, her re- 
serve, all the sweet qualities of her life, 
and the peace of her death, are told of 
with such tenderness and refinement, 
such pathetic melancholy, such delicate 
purity, and such passionate vehemence, 
that she remains and will always remain 
the loveliest and most womanly woman 
of the Middle Ages, at once absolutely 
real and truly ideal. 

It was in the year 1292, about two 
years after the death of Beatrice, and 
when he himself was about twenty-seven 
years old, that Dante collected into this 
libretto d' amore the poems that he had 
written during Beatrice's life, adding 
to them others relating to her written 
after her death, and accompanying all 
with a narrative and commentary in 
prose. The meaning of the name which 
he gave to the book, " La Vita Nuova," 
has been the cause of elaborate discus- 
sion among the Italian commentators. 
Literally " The New Life," it has been 
questioned whether this phrase meant 
simply early life, or life made new by 
the first experience and lasting influ- 
ence of love. The latter interpretation 
seems the most appropriate to Dante's 
turn of mind and to his condition of feel- 
ing at the time when the little book ap- 
peared. To him it was the record of that 
life which the presence of Beatrice had 
made new.* 

* For vita nova in the sense of early life, see 
Purgatory, xxx. 115, with the comments of 
Landino and Benvenuto da Imola; and for 
eta novella in a similar sense, see Canzone 
xviii. st. 6. Fraticelli, who supports this in- 
terpretation, gives these with other examples, 
but none more to the point. Mr. Joseph Gar- 
row, who had a translation into English of 
the Vita Nuova, printed at Florence in 1846, 
entitles his book " The Early Life of Dante 
Allighieri." But as giving probability to the 
meaning to which we incline, see Canzone x. 
t. 5. 

" Lo giorno die costei nel mondo venne, 
Secondo che si trova 
Nel libro della mente che vien meno, 
La mia persona parvola sostenne 
Una passion nova." 



But whatever be the true significance 
of the title, this " New Life " is full not 
only of the youthfulness of its author, but 
also of the fresh and youthful spirit of the 
time. Italy, after going through a long 
period of childhood, was now becoming 
conscious of the powers of maturity. So- 
ciety, (to borrow a fine figure from La- 
merinais,) like a river, which, long lost in 
marshes, had at length regained its chan- 
nel, after stagnating for centuries, was 
now again rapidly advancing. Through- 
out Italy there was a morning freshness, 
and the thrill and exhilaration of con- 
scious activity. Her imagination was 
roused by the revival of ancient and 
now new learning, by the stories of trav- 
ellers, by the gains of commerce, by the 
excitements of religion and the alarms 
of superstition. She was boastful, jeal- 
ous, quarrelsome, lavish, magnificent, full 
of fickleness, exhibiting on all sides the 
exuberance, the magnanimity, the folly 
of youth. After the long winter of the 
Dark Ages, spring had come, and the 
earth was renewing its beauty. And 
above all other cities in these days Flor- 
ence was full of the pride of life. Civil 
brawls had not yet reduced her to be- 
come an easy prey for foreign conquer- 
ors. She was famous for wealth, and 
her spirit had risen with prosperity. 
Many years before, one of the Provencal 
troubadours, writing to his friend in verse, 
had said, " Friend Gaucelm, if you go 

That day when she unto the world attained, 
As is found written true 
Within the book of my now sinking soul, 
Then by my childish nature was sustained 
A passion new. 

In referring to Dante's Minor Poems, we 
shall refer to them as they stand in the first 
volume of Fraticelli's edition of the Opere 
Minore di Dante, Firenze, 1834. There is 
great need of a careful, critical edition of 
the Canzoniere of Dante, in which poems 
falsely ascribed to him should no longer 
hold place among the genuine. But there 
is little hope for this from Italy; for the race 
of Italian commentators on Dante is, as a 
whole, more frivolous, more impertinent, and 
duller, than that of English commentators on 
Shakspeare. 



1859.] 



" The New Life " of Dante. 



65 



to Tuscany, seek a shelter in the noble 
city of the Florentines, which is named 
Florence. There all true valor is found ; 
there joy and song and love are perfect 
and adorned." And if this were true in 
the earlier years of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, it was still truer of its close ; for 
much of early simplicity and purity of 
manners had disappeared before the in- 
creasing luxury (le morbidezze d' Egitto, 
as Boccaccio terms it) and the gathered 
wealth of the city, so that gayety and 
song more than ever abounded. " It is 
to be noted," says Giovanni Villani, writ- 
ing of this time, " it is to be noted that 
Florence and her citizens were never in 
a happier condition." The chroniclers 
tell of constant festivals and celebrations. 
" In the year 1283, in the month of June, 
at the feast of St. John, the city of Flor- 
ence being in a happy and good state 
of repose, a tranquil and peaceable 
state, excellent for merchants and artif- 
icers, there was formed a company of 
a thousand men or more, all clothed in 
white dresses, with a leader called the 
Lord of Love, who devoted themselves 
to games and sports and dancing, going 
through the city with trumpets and other 
instruments of joy and gladness, and 
feasting often together. And this court 
lasted for two months, and was the most 
noble and famous that ever was in Flor- 
ence or in all Tuscany, and many gen- 
tlemen came to it, and many rhymers,* 
and all were welcomed and honorably 
cared for." Every year, the summer was 
opened with May and June festivals. 
Florence was rejoicing in abundance 
and beauty .f Nor was it only in passing 
gayeties that the cheerful and liberal 
temper of the people was displayed. 

The many great works of Art which 
were begun and carried on to completion 

* The word in the original (Villani, Book 
vii. c. 89) is Giocolari, the Italian form of the 
French jonyleur, the appellation of those 
whose profession was to sing or recite the 
verses of the troubadours or the romances 
of chiviilry. 

t See Boccaccio, Decamerone, Giorn. vi. 
Nov. 9, for an entertaining picture of Floren- 
tine festivities. 

VOL. HI. 5 



at this time show with what large spirit 
the whole city was inspired, and under 
what strong influences of public feeling 
the early life of Dante was led. Civil 
liberty and strength were producing their 
legitimate results. Little republic as she 
was, Florence was great enough for great 
undertakings. Never was there such a 
noble activity within the narrow compass 
of her walls as from about 12G5, when 
Dante was born, to the end of the century. 
In these thirty- five years, the stout walls 
and the tall tower of tke Bargello were 
built, the grand foundations of the Pa- 
lazzo Vecchio and of the unrivalled 
Duomo were laid, and both in one year ; 
the Baptistery 11 mio bel San Giovan- 
ni was adorned with a new covering of 
marble ; the churches of Sta x Maria No- 
vella, of Or San Michele, (changed from 
its original object,) and Sta Croce, the 
finest churches even now in Florence, 
were all begun and carried far on to com- 
pletion. Each new work was at once the 
fruit and the seed of glorious energy. The 
small city, of less than one hundred thou- 
sand inhabitants, the little republic, not 
so large as Rhode Island or Delaware, 
was setting an example which later and 
bigger and richer republics have not fol- 
lowed.* It might well, indeed, be called 
a " new life " for Florence, as well as for 
Dante. When it was determined to sup- 
ply the place of the old church of Santa 
Reparata with a new cathedral, a decree 
was passed in words of memorable spirit : 
" Whereas it is the highest interest of a 
people of illustrious origin so to proceed 
in its affairs that men may perceive 
from its external works that its do- 
ings are at once wise and magnanimous, 
it is therefore ordered, that Arnolfo, 
architect of our commune, prepare the 
model or design for the rebuilding of 
Santa Reparata, with such supreme and 
lavish magnificence that neither the in- 

* The feeling which moved Florence thus 
to build herself into beauty was one shared 
by the other Italian republican cities at this 
time. Venice, Verona, Pisa, Siena, Orvieto, 
were building or adding to churches and pal- 
aces such as have never since been surpassed. 



" The New Life " of Dante. 



[January, 



dustry nor the capacity of man shall be 
able to devise anything more grand or 
more beautiful ; inasmuch as the most 
judicious in this city have pronounced 
the opinion, in public and private con- 
ferences, that no work of the commune 
should be undertaken, unless the design 
be to make it correspondent with a heart 
which is of the greatest nature, because 
composed of the spirit of many citizens 
united together in one single will." * The 
records of few other cities contain a de- 
cree so magnificent as this. 

It would be strange, indeed, if the 
youthful book of one so sensitive to exter- 
nal influences as Dante did not give evi- 
dence of sympathy with such pervading 
emotion. And so apparent is this, that 
one may say that only at such a period, 
when strength of sentiment was finding 
vent in all manner of free expression, was 
such a book possible. Confidence, frank- 
ness, directness in the rendering of per- 
sonal feeling are rare, except in condi- 
tions of society when the emotional spirit 
is stronger than the critical. The secret 
of the active power of the arts at this time 
was the conscious or unconscious resort 
of those who practised them to the springs 
of Nature, from which the streams of all 
true Art proceed. Dante was the first of 
the moderns to seek Poetry at the same 
fountain, and to free her from the chains 
of conventionality which had long bound 
her. In this he shows his close relation 
to his times. It is his fidelity to Nature 
which has made him a leader for all suc- 
cessive generations. The " Vita Nuova " 
was the beginning of a new school of 
poetry and of prose as completely as 
Giotto's O was the beginning of a new 
school of painting. 

The Italian poets, before Dante, may 
be broadly divided into two classes. The 
first was that of the troubadours, writing 
in the Proven9al language, hardly to be 
distinguished from their contemporaries 
of the South of France, giving expression 
in their verses to the ideas of love, gal- 
lantry, and valor which formed the base 
of the complex and artificial system of 

* Cicognara, Storia deUa Scultura, II. 147. 



chivalry, repeating constantly the same 
fancies and thoughts in similar formulas 
of words, without scope or truth of imag- 
ination, with rare exhibitions of individ- 
ual feeling, with little regard for Nature. 
Ingenuity is more characteristic of their 
poetry than force, subtilty more obvious 
in it than beauty. The second and later 
class were poets who wrote in the Italian 
tongue, but still under the influence of 
the poetic code which had governed the 
compositions of their Proven9al predeces- 
sors. Their poetry is, for the most part, a 
faded copy of an unsubstantial original, 
an echo of sounds originally faint. Truth 
and poetry were effectually divided. In 
the latter half of the thirteenth century, 
however, a few poets appeared whose 
verses give evidence of some native life, 
and are enlivened by a freer play of 
fancy and a greater truthfulness of feel- 
ing. Guido Guinicelli, who died in 1276, 
when Dante was eleven years old, and, a 
little later, Guido Cavalcanti, and some 
few others, trusting more than had been 
done before to their own inspiration, show 
themselves as the forerunners of a better 
day.* But as, in painting, Margheritone 
and Cimabue, standing between the old 
and the new styles, exhibit rather a vague 
striving than a fulfilled attainment, so is 
it with these poets. There is little that 
is distinguishingly individual in them. 
Love is still treated mostly as an abstrac- 
tion, and one poet might adopt the oth- 
ers' love-verses with few changes of words 
for any manifest difference in them of 
personal feeling. 

Not so with Dante. The " Vita Nu- 
ova," although retaining many ideas, 
forms, and expressions derived from ear- 
lier poets, is his, and could be the work 

* Gnido Guinicelli will always be less 
known by his own verses than by Dante's 
calling him 

" father 

Of me and all those better others 
Who sweet chivalric lovelays formed." 
Purg. xxvi. 97-99. 

And Guido Cavalcanti, " he who took from 
this other Guido the praise of speech," (Purg. 
xi. 97,) is more famous as Dante's friend than 
as a poet. 



1859.] 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



67 



of no other. Nor was he unaware of 
this difference between himself and those 
that had gone before him, or ignorant of 
its nature. In describing himself to Buo- 
nagiimta da Lucca in Purgatory, he says, 
"I am one who, when Love breathes, 
mark, and according as he dictates with- 
in, I report " ; to which the poet of Lucca 
replies, " O brother, now I see the knot 
which kept the Notary and Guittone and 
me back from that sweet new style which 
now I hear. I see well how your pens 
have followed close on the dictator, which 
truly was not the case with ours." * As 
Love was the common theme of the verses 
from which Buonagiunta drew his con- 
trast, the difference between them lay 
plainly in sincerity of feeling and truth 
of expression. The following close upon 
the dictates of his heart was the distin- 
guishing merit of Dante's love-poetry 
over all that had preceded it and most 
of what has followed it. There are, how- 
ever, some among his earlier poems in 
which the " sweet new style " is scarcely 
heard, and others, of a later period, in 
which the accustomed metaphysical and 
fanciful subtilties of the elder poets are 
drawn out to an unwonted fineness. 
These were concessions to a ruling mode, 
concessions the more readily made, ow- 
ing to their being in complete harmony 
with the strong subtilizing and allegoriz- 
ing tendencies of Dante's own mind. 
Still, so far as he adopts the modes of his 
predecessors in this first book of his, 
Dante surpasses them all in their own 
way. He leaves them far behind him, 
and goes forward to open new paths 
which he is to tread alone. 

But there is yet another tendency of 
the times, to which Dante, in his later 
works, has given the fullest and most 
characteristic expression, and which ex- 
hibits itself curiously in the " Vita Nu- 
ova." Corresponding with the new ar- 
dor for the arts, and in sympathy with it, 
was a newly awakened and generally 
diffused ardor for learning, especially for 
the various branches of philosophy. Sci- 
ence was leaving the cloister, in which 
* Purgatory, xxiv. 58-60. 



she had sat in dumb solitude, and com- 
ing out into the world. But the limits 
and divisions of knowledge were not 
firmly marked. The relations of learn- 
ing to life were not clearly understood. 
The science of mathematics was not yet 
so advanced as to bind philosophy to 
exactness. The intellects of men were 
quickened by a new sense of freedom, 
and stimulated by ardor of imagination. 
New worlds of undiscovered knowledge 

O 

loomed vaguely along the horizon. Phi- 
losophy invaded the sphere of poetry, 
while, on the other hand, poetry gave its 
form to much of the prevailing philoso- 
phy. To be a proper poet was not only 
to be a writer of verses, but to be a mas- 
ter of learning. Boccaccio x describes 
Guido Cavalcanti as " one of the best 
logicians in the world, and as a most ex- 
cellent natural philosopher,"* but says 
nothing of his poetry. Dante, more than 
any other man of his time, resumed in 
himself the general zeal for knowledge. 
His genius had two distinct, and yet 
often intermingling parts, the poetic 
and the scientific. No learning came 
amiss to him. He was born a scholar, 
as he was born a poet, and had he writ- 
ten not a single poem, he would still be 
famous as the most profound student of 
his times. Far as he surpassed his con- 
temporaries in poetry, he was no less 
their superior in the depth and the ex- 
tent of his knowledge. And this double 
nature of his genius is plainly shown 
in many parts of " The New Life." A 
youthful incapacity to mark clearly the 
line between the work of the student 
and the work of the poet is manifest in 
it. The display of his acquisitions is 
curiously mingled with the narrative of 
his emotions. This is not to be charged 
against him as pedantry. His love of 
learning partook of the nature of pas- 
sion ; his judgment was not yet able, if 
indeed it ever became able, to establi-h 
the division between the abstractions of 

* Decamerone, Giom. vi. Nov. 9. Logician 
is here to be understood in an extended sense, 
as the student of letters, or art*, as they were 
then called, in general. 



68 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



[January, 



the intellect and the affections of the 
heart. And above all, his early claim 
of honor as a poet was to be justified by 
his possession of the fruits of study. 

But there was also in Dante a quality 
of mind which led him to unite the re- 
sults of knowledge with poetry in a man- 
ner almost peculiar to himself. He was 
essentially a mystic. The dark and hid- 
den side of things was not less present to 
his imagination than the visible and plain. 
The range of human capacity in the com- 
prehension of the spiritual world was 
not then marked by as numerous boun- 
dary-stones of failure as now limit the 
way. Impossibilities were sought for with 
the same confident hope as realities. The 
alchemists and the astrologers believed in 
the attainment of results as tangible and 
real as those which travellers brought 
back from the marvellous and still un- 
achieved East. The mystical properties 
of numbers, the influence of the stars, 
the powers of cordials and elixirs, the 
virtues of precious stones, were received 
as established facts, and opened long vis- 
tas of discovery before the student's eyes. 
Curiosity and speculative inquiry were 
stimulated by wonder and fed by all the 
suggestions of heated fancies. Dante, 
partaking to the full in the eager spirit 
of the times, sharing all the ardor of the 
pursuit of knowledge, and with a spiritual 
insight which led him into regions of 
mystery where no others ventured, nat- 
urally connected the knowledge which 
opened the way for him with the poetic 
imagination which cast light upon it. To 
him science was but another name for 
poetry. 

Much learning has been expended in 
the attempt to show that even the doc- 
trine of Love, which is displayed in " The 
New Life," is derived, more or less di- 
rectly, from the philosophy of Plato. It 
has been supposed that this little autobi- 
ographic story, full of the most intimate 
personal revelations, and glowing with a 
sincere passion, was written on a precon- 
ceived basis of theory. A certain Pla- 
tonic form of expression, often covering 
idesu very far removed from those of 



Plato, was common to the earlier, colder, 
and less truthful poets. Some strains of 
such Platonism, derived from the poems 
of his predecessors, are perhaps to be 
found in this first book of Dante's. But 
there is nothing to show that he had de- 
liberately adopted the teachings of the 
ancient philosopher. It may well, indeed, 
be doubted if at the time of its composi- 
tion he had read any of Plato's works. 
Such Platonism as exists in " The New 
Life " was of that unconscious kind which 
is shared by every youth of thoughtful 
nature and sensitive temperament, who 
makes of his beloved a type and image 
of divine beauty, and who by the love- 
liness of the creature is led up to the 
perfection of the Creator. 

The essential qualities of the " Vita 
Nuova," those which afford direct illustra- 
tion of Dante's character, as distinguished 
from those which may be called youthful, 
or merely literary, or biographical, corre- 
spond in striking measure with those of 
the " Divina Commedia." The earthly 
Beatrice is exalted to the heavenly in the 
later poem; but the same perfect purity 
and intensity of feeling with which she 
is reverently regarded in the " Divina 
Commedia " is visible in scarcely less de- 
gree in the earlier work. The imagina- 
tion which makes the unseen seen, and 
the unreal real, belongs alike to the one 
and to the other. The "Vita Nuova " 
is chiefly occupied with a series of visions; 
the " Divina Commedia " is one long vis- 
ion. The sympathy with the spirit and 
impulses of the time, which in the first 
reveals the youthful impressibility of the 
poet, in the last discloses itself in ma- 
turer forms, in more personal expressions. 
In the " Vita Nuova " it is a sympathy 
mastering the natural spirit ; in the " Di- 
vina Commedia " the sympathy is con- 
trolled by the force of established char- 
acter. The change is that from him who 
follows to him who commands. It is the 
privilege of men of genius, not only to 
give more than others to the world, but 
also to receive more from it. Sympathy, 
in its full comprehensiveness, is the proof 
of the strongest individuality. By as 



1859.] At Sea. C9 

much as Dante or Shakspeare learnt of genius, the first proofs of that wide sym- 

and entered into the hearts of men, by pathy, which at length resulted in the 

so much was his own nature strengthened " Divine Comedy." It is like the first 

and made peculiarly his own. The " Vita blade of spring grass, rich with the prom- 

Nuova " shows the first stages of that ise of the golden harvest 



AT SEA. 

THE night is made for cooling shade, 

For silence, and for sleep ; 
And when I was a child, 1 laid 
My hands upon my breast, and prayed, 

And sank to slumbers deep : 
Childlike as then, I 'lie to-night, 
And watch my lonely cabin light. 

Each movement of the swaying lamp 

Shows how the vessel reels : 
As o'er her deck the billows tramp, 
And all her timbers strain and cramp 

With every shock she feels, 
It starts and shudders, while it burns, 
And in its hinged socket turns. 

Now swinging slow, and slanting low, 

It almost level lies ; 
And yet I know, while to and fro 
I watch the seeming pendule go 

With restless fall and rise, 
The steady shaft is still upright, 
Poising its little globe of light. 

hand of God ! O lamp of peace ! 
O promise of my soul ! 

Though weak, and tossed, and ill at ease, 
Amid the roar of smiting seas, 
The ship's convulsive roll, 

1 own, with love and tender awe, 
Yon perfect type of faith and law ! 

A heavenly trust my spirit calms, 

My soul is filled with light : 
The ocean sings his solemn psalms, 
The wild winds chant : I cross my palms, 

Happy as if, to-night, 
Under the cottage-roof, again 
I heard the soothing summer-rain. 




70 



Hulls and Bears. 



[January, 



BULLS AND BEARS. 



[Continued.] 



CHAPTER V. 



WHICH TREATS OF THE MODESTY OF 
CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE. 

MR. SANDFORD sat in his private room. 
Through the windows in front were seen 
the same bald and grizzly heads that had 
for so many years given respectability to 
the Vortex Company. The contempla- 
tion of the cheerful office and the thought 
of its increasing prosperity seemed to 
give him great satisfaction ; for he rubbed 
his white and well-kept hands, settled his 
staid cravat, smoothed his gravely deco- 
rous coat, and looked the picture of placid 
content. He meditated, gently twirling 
his watch-seal the while. 

" Windham will be here presently, for 
my note admitted only of an answer in 
person. A very useful person to have a 
call from is Windham ; these old gentle- 
men will put up their gold spectacles 
when he comes, and won't think any the 
less of me for having such a visitor. I 
noticed that Monroe was much impressed 
the other day. Then Bullion and Stear- 
ine will drop in, I think, both solid men, 
useful acquaintances. If Plotman has 
only done what he promised, the thing 
will come round right. I shall not seek 
office, oh, no ! I could not compro- 
mise my position. But if the people 
thrust it upon me, I cannot refuse. Citi- 
zenship has its duties as well as its privi- 
leges, and every man must take his share 
of public responsibility. By-the-by, that's 
a well-turned phrase ; 'twill bear repeat- 
ing. I'll make a note of it." 

True enough, Mr. Windham called, 
and, after the trivial business-affair was 
settled, he introduced the subject he was 
expected to speak on. 

" We want men of character and busi- 
ness habits in public station, my young 
friend, and I was rejoiced to-day to hear 



that it was proposed to make you a Sena- 
tor. We have had plenty of politicians, 
men who trade in honors and offices." 

" I am sensible of the honor you men- 
tion," modestly replied Sandford, " and 
should value highly the compliment of a 
nomination, particularly coming from men 
like yourself, who have only the public 
welfare at heart. But if I were to accept, 
I don't know how I could discharge my 
duties. And besides, I am utterly with- 
out experience in political life, and should 
very poorly fulfil the expectations that 
would be formed of me." 

" Don't be too modest, Mr. Sandford. 
If you have not experience in politics, 
all the better ; for the ways to office have 
been foul enough latterly. And as to 
business, we must arrange that. Your 
duties here you could easily discharge, 
and we will get some other young man to 
take your place in the charitable boards ; 
though we shall be fortunate, if we find 
any one to make a worthy successor." 

After a few words, the stately Mr. 
Windham bowed himself out, leaving 
Sandford rubbing his hands with in- 
creased, but still gentle hilarity. 

Mr. Bullion soon dropped in. He was 
a stout man, with a round, bald head, 
short, sturdy legs, and a deep voice, a 
weighty voice on 'Change, though, as 
its owner well knew, the more, per- 
haps, because it dealt chiefly in mono- 
syllables. 

" How are you, Sandford ? Fine day. 
Anything doing ? Money more in de- 
mand, they say. Hope all is right ; though 
it looks like a squall." 

Mr. Sandford merely bowed, with an 
occasional " Ah ! " or " Indeed ! " 

" How about politics ? " Bullion con- 
tinued. " Talk of sending you to the 
Senate. Couldn't do better, I mean 
the city couldn't ; you'd be a d d fool 



1859.] 



Butts and Bears. 



71 



to go. Somebody has to, though. You 
as well as any. Can I help you ? " 

" You rather surprise nie. I had not 
thought of the honor." 

Bullion turned his eye upon him, a 
cool, gray eye, overhung by an eyebrow 
that seemed under perfect muscular con- 
trol ; for the gray wisp of hair grew point- 
ed like a paint-brush, and had a queer 
motion of intelligence. 

" Oh, shy, I see ! Just as well. Too 
forward is bad. We'll fix it. Good 
morning ! " 

And Bullion, sticking his hands in his 
pockets, went away with a half-audible 
whistle, to look after his debtors, and 
draw in his resources before the antici- 
pated " squall " should come. Mr. Sand- 
ford had lost the opportunity of making 
his carefully studied speech ; but, as Bul- 
lion had said, it was just as well. 

Mr. Stearine came next, a tall, thin 
man, with a large, bony frame, and a 
bilious temperament. A smile played 
perpetually around his loose mouth, 
not a smile of frank good-humor, but of 
uneasy self-consciousness. He smiled be- 
cause it was necessary to do something ; 
and he had not the idea of what repose 
meant. 

" You are going to the Senate, I hear," 
said the visitor. 

" Indeed ! " 

" Oh, yes, I've heard it from several. 
Mr. Windham approves it, and I just 
heard Bullion speak of it. A solid man 
is Bullion; a man of few words, but all 
his words tell ; they drop like shot" 

" Mr. Windham was good enough to 
speak of it to me to-day ; but I haven't 
made up my mind. In fact, it will be 
time enough when the nomination is of- 
fered to me. By-the-way, Mr. Stearine, 
you were speaking the other day of a 
little discount. If you want a thousand 
or two, I think I can get it for you. 
Street rates are rather high, you know ; 
but I will do the best I can." 

Mr. Stearine smiled again, as he had 
done every minute before, and expressed 
his gratification. 

" Let me have good paper on short 



time; it's not my money, and I must 
consult the lender's views, you know. 
About one and a half per cent, a month, 
I think; he may want one and three 
quarters, or two per cent, not more." 

Mr. Stearine hoped his friend would 
obtain as favorable terms as he could. 

" You'll have no trouble in meeting 
the larger note due Bullion, on which I 
am indorser ? " said Sandford. 

" None at all, I think," was the reply. 

" Two birds with one stone," thought 
Sandford, after his friend's departure. 
" A good investment, and the influence of 
a good man to boot Now to see Fletcher 
and learn how affairs are coming on. 
We'll make that ten thousand fifteen be- 
fore fall is over, if I am not ^uistaken." 

CHAPTER VI. 

WHEREIN THE INVESTMENT IS DIS- 
CUSSED. 

IT was the evening of a long day in 
summer. Mrs. Monroe had rolled up 
her sewing and was waiting for her son. 
Tea was ready in the pleasant east room, 
and the air of the house seemed to invite 
tranquillity and repose. It was in a quiet 
street, away from the rattle of carriages, 
and comparatively free from the multitu- 
dinous noises of a city. The carts of 
milkmen and marketmen were the only 
vehicles that frequented it. The narrow 
yard in the rear, with its fringe of grass, 
and the proximity to the pavement in 
front, were the only things that would 
have prevented one from thinking him- 
self a dweller in the country. As the 
clock struck six, Walter Monroe's step 
was heard at the door ; other men might 
be delayed ; he never. No seductions 
of billiards or pleasant company ever 
kept him from the society of his mother. 
He had varied sources of amusement, 
and many friends, attracted by his genial 
temper and tried worth ; but he never 
forgot that his mother denied herself all 
intercourse with society, and was indif- 
ferent to every pleasure out of the sphere " 
of home. Nor did he meet her as a mat- 
ter of course ; mindful of his mother's 



72 



Bulls and J3ears. 



[January, 



absorbing love, and heartily returning it, 
he seemed always, upon entering the 
room, to have come home as from a long 
absence. He kissed her fondly, asked 
concerning her health and spirits, and 
how she had passed the day. 

" The day is always long till you come, 
Walter. Tea is ready now, my son. 
When you are rested, we will sit down." 

" Ah, mother, you are cheerful to-day. 
I have brought you, besides the papers, 
a new book, which we will commence 
presently." 

" A thoughtful boy you are ; but you 
haven't told me all, Walter. I see some- 
thing behind those eyes of yours." 

" What telltales they must be ! Well, 
I have a pretty present for you, a sweet 
picture I boughtthe other day, and which 
will come home to-morrow, I fancy." 

" Is that all ? I shall be glad to see 
the picture, because you like it. But you 
have something else on your mind." 

" I see I never keep anything from 
you, mother. You seem to know my 
thoughts." 

" Well, what is it ? " 

" I have been thinking, mother, that 
our little property was hardly so produc- 
tive as it ought to be, earning barely 
six per cent, while I know that many 
of my friends are getting eight, and 
even ten." 

" I am afraid that the extra interest is 
only to pay for the risk of losing all." 

" True, that is often the case ; but I 
think we can make all safe." 

" Well, what do you propose doing ? " 

" I have left it with Mr. Sandford, an 
acquaintance of mine, to invest fojr me. 
He is secretary of an insurance com- 
pany, and knows all the ways of the 
money-lending world." 

" It's a great risk, Walter, to trust our 
all." 

" Not our all, mother. I have a sal- 
ary, and, whatever may happen, we can 
always depend on that. Besides, Mr. 
Sandford is a man of integrity and 
credit. He has the unlimited confi- 
dence of the company, and I rely upon 
him as I would upon myself." 



" How has he invested it ? Have you 
got the securities ? " 

" Not yet, mother. I have left the 
money on his note for the present ; and 
when he has found a good chance to 
loan it, he will give me the mortgages or 
stocks, as the case may be. But come, 
mother, let us sit down to tea. All is 
safe, I am sure ; and to-morrow I will 
make you satisfied with my prudent man- 
agement." 

When the simple meal was over, they 
sat in the twilight before the gas was 
lighted. The moments passed rapidly in 
their free and loving converse. Then 
the table was drawn out and the new 
book was opened. Mrs. Monroe sud- 
denly recollected something. 

" Walter, my dear, a letter was left 
here to-day by the postman. As it was 
directed to the street and number, it did 
not go to your box. Here it is. I have 
read it ; and rather sad news it brings. 
Cousin Augustus is failing, so his daugh- 
ter writes, and it is doubtful whether he 
ever recovers. Poor child ! I am sorry 
for her." 

Walter took the letter and hastily read 
it. 

" A modest, feeling, sensible little girl, 
I am sure. I have never seen her, you 
know ; but this letter is simple, touching, 
and womanly." 

" A dear, good girl, I am sure. How 
lonely she must be ! " 

" Mother, I believe I'll go and see 
them. In time of trouble we should for- 
get ceremony. Cousin Augustus has nev- 
er invited me, but I'll go and see him. 
Won't you go, too ? " 

" Dear boy, I couldn't ! The cars ? 
Oh, never!" 

Walter smiled. " You don't get over 
your prejudices. The cars are per- 
fectly safe, and more comfortable than 
coaches." 

" I can't go ; it's no use to coax 
me." 

" I have but one thing to trouble me, 
mother, and that is, that I can never 
get you away from this spot." 

" I'm very happy, Walter, and it's a 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



73 



very pleasant spot ; why should I wish to 
go?" 

" How long since you have been down 
Washington Street ? " 

" Ten years, I think." 

" And you have never seen the new 
theatre, nor the Music Hall ? " 

" No." 

" Nor any of the new warehouses ? " 

" I don't want to see them." 

" And you wouldn't go to church, if it 
were more than a stone's throw away ? " 

" I am afraid not." 

" How long since you were in a car- 
riage ? " 

Her eyes filled with tears, but she 
made no reply. 

" Forgive me, mother ! I remember 
the time, five years ! and it seems like 
yesterday when father " 

There was a silence which, for a time, 
neither cared to break. 

"Well," said Walter, at length, "I 
shall have to go alone. To-morrow morn- 
ing I will arrange my business, not for- 
getting our securities, and start in the 
afternoon train." 

" Your father often spoke of Cousin 
Augustus and his lovely wife ; I wonder 
if the daughter has her mother's beau- 
ty?" 

" I can't tell. I hope so. But don't 
look so inquiringly. I don't love a woman 
in the world, except you, mother. I 
shan't fall in love, even if she is an angeL" 

" If Cousin Augustus should be worse, 
should die, what will become of the 
poor motherless child ? " 

" There are no nearer relatives than 
we, mother, and. we must give her a 
home, if she will come." 

" Certainly, Walter, we must not be 
hard-hearted." 

Mrs. Monroe was charitable, kind, and 
motherly towards the distressed ; she felt 
the force of her son's generous senti- 
ments. If it were her Cousin Augustus 

O 

himself who was to be sheltered, or his 
son, if he had one, or if the daughter 
were unattractive, a hoyden even, she 
would cheerfully make any sacrifice in 
favor of hospitality. But she could not 



repress a secret fear lest the beauty and 
innocence of the orphan should appeal 
too strongly to Walter's heart. She knew 
the natural destiny of agreeable young 
men ; she acknowledged to herself that 
Walter would sometime marry ; but she 
put the time far off as ar\ evil day, and 
kept the subject under ban. None of her 
neighbors who had pretty daughters were 
encouraged to visit her on intimate terms. 
She almost frowned upon every winsome 
face that crossed her threshold when Wal- 
ter was at home. So absorbing was this 
feeling, that she was not aware of its ex- 
istence, but watched her son by a sort of 
instinct. Her conduct was not the result 
of cool calculation, and, if it could have 
been properly set before her generous, 
kindly heart, she would have been shock- 
ed at her own fond selfishness. 

So she sat and speculated, balancing 
between fear and hope. If Walter built 
air-castles, was he to blame ? At twenty- 
four, with a heart untouched, with fresh 
susceptibilities, and a little romance with- 
al, is it to be wondered that his fancy 
drew such pleasing pictures of his cousin ? 

We will leave them to their quiet eve- 
ning's enjoyment and follow Greenleaf to 
the house of Mr. Sandford. 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE MUSICAL SOIREE. 

A SMALL, but judiciously-selected com- 
pany had assembled ; all were people of 
musical tastes, and most of them capable 
of sharing in the performances. There 
were but few ladies ; perhaps it did not 
suit the mistress of the house to have the 
attentions of the gentlemen divided among 
too many. Miss Sandford was undeni- 
ably queen of the evening; her superb 
face and figure, and irreproachable toilet, 
never showed to better advantage. And 
her easy manners, and ready, silvery 
words, would have given a dangerous 
charm to a much plainer woman. She 
had a smile, a welcome, and a compli- 
ment for each, not seemingly studied, 
but gracefully expressed, and sufficient to 
put the guests in the best humor. Mrs. 



74 



Bulls and Bears. 



[January, 



Sandford, less demonstrative in manner 
than her sister-in-law, and less brilliant in 
conversation and personal attractions, was 
yet a most winning, lovable woman, a 
companion for a summer ramble, or a 
quiet tete-a-tete, rather than a belle for a 
drawing-room. Mr. Sandford was calm- 
ly conscious, full of subdued spirits, cheer- 
ful and ready with all sorts of pleasant 
phrases. It is not often that one sees 
such a manly, robust figure, such a hand- 
some, ingenuous face, and such an air of 
agreeable repose. Easelmann was pres- 
ent, retiring as usual, but with an acute 
eye that lost nothing while it seemed to 
be observing nothing. Greenleaf was 
decidedly the lion. It was not merely 
his graceful person and regular features 
that drew admiring glances upon him ; the 
charm lay rather in an atmosphere of in- 
tellect that surrounded him. His conver- 
sation, though by no means faultless, was 
marked by an energy of phrase joined to 
an almost womanly delicacy and taste. 
His was the " hand of steel," but clothed 
with the " glove of velvet." Easelmann 
followed him with a look half stealthy, 
half comical, as. he saw the unusual vi- 
vacity of the reigning beauty when in his 
immediate society. Her voice took instinc- 
tively a softer and more musical tone ; she 
showered her glances upon him, dazzling 
and prismatic as the rays from her dia- 
monds ; she seemed determined to capti- 
vate him without the tedious process of a 
siege. And, in truth, he must have been 
an unimpressible man that could steel 
himself against the influence of a woman 
who satisfied every critical sense, who 
piqued all his pride, who stimulated all 
that was most manly in his nature, and 
without apparent effort filled his bosom 
with an exquisite intoxication. 

The music commenced under Marcia's 
direction. There were piano solos that 
were not tedious, full of melody and 
feeling, and with few of the pyrotechni- 
cal displays which are too common in 
modern virtuoso-playing ; vocal duets 
and quartets from the Italian operas, and 
from Orfeo and other German -master- 
pieces ; and solos, if not equal to the ef- 



forts of professional singers, highly credit- 
able to amateurs, to say the least. The 
auditors were enthusiastic in praise. 
Even Charles, who came in late, de- 
clared the music " Vewy good, upon my 
soul, surpwizingly good ! " 

Greenleaf was listening to Marcia, with 
a pleased smile on his face, when Mr. 
Sandford approached and interrupted 
them. 

" You are proficient in more than one 
art, I see. You paint as well as though 
you knew nothing of music, and yet you 
sing like a man who has made it an ex- 
clusive study." 

Greenleaf simply bowed. 

" How do you come on with the pic- 
ture ? " Mr. Sandford continued. 

" Very well, I believe." 

" My dear Sir, make haste and finish 
it." 

" I thought you were not in a hurry." 

" Not in the least, my friend ; but when 
you get that finished, you can paint oth- 
ers, which I can probably dispose of for 
you." 

" You are very kind." 

" I speak as a business man," said 
Sandford, in a lower tone, at which Mar- 
cia withdrew. " The arts fare badly in 
time of a money panic, and all the pic- 
tures you can sell now will be clear 
gain." 

" Are there signs of a panic ? " 

" Decidedly ; the rates of interest are 
advancing daily, and no one knows where 
it will end. Unless there is some relief 
in the market by Western remittances, 
the distress will be wide-spread and se- 
vere." 

" I am obliged to you for the hint. I 
have two or three pictures nearly done." 

" I will look at them in a day or two, 
and try to find you purchasers." 

Greenleaf expressed his thanks, warm- 
ly, and then walked towards Mrs. Sand- 
ford, who was sitting alone at that mo- 
ment. 

" There is no knowing what Marcia 
may do," thought Sandford ; " I have 
never seen her when she appeared so 
much in earnest, infatuated like a can- 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



75 



die-fly. I hope she won't be fool enough 
to marry a man without money. These 
artists are poor sheep; they have to be 
taken care of like so many children. At 
all events, it won't cost much to keep him 
at work for the present. Meanwhile she 
may change her mind." 

Greenleaf was soon engaged in conver- 
sation with Mrs. Sandford. She had too 
much delicacy to flatter him upon his 
singing, but naturally turned the cur- 
rent towards his art. Without depre- 
ciating his efforts or the example of de- 
servedly eminent American painters, she 
spoke with more emphasis of the acknowl- 
edged masters ; and as she dwelt with 
unaffected enthusiasm upon the delight 
she had received from their immortal 
works, his old desire to visit Europe came 
upon him with redoubled force. There 
was a calm strength in her thoughts and 
manner that moved him strangely. He 
saw in a new light his thoughtless devo- 
tion to pleasure, and especially the fool- 
ish fascination into which he had been 
led by a woman whom he could not mar- 
ry and ought not to love. Mrs. Sandford 
did not exhort, nor even advise ; least of 
all did she allude to her sister-in-law. 
Hers was only the influence of truth, 
of broad ideas of life and its noblest ends, 
presented with simplicity and a womanly 
tact above all art. It seemed to Green- 
leaf the voice of an angel that he heard, 
so promptly did his conscience respond. 
He listened with heightening color and 
tense nerves ; the delicious languor of 
amatory music, and the delirium he had 
felt wliile under the spell of Marcia's 
beauty, passed away. It seemed to him 
that he was lifted into a higher plane, 
whence la: saw before him the straight 
path of duty, leading away from the 
tempting gardens of pleasure, where 
he recognized immutable principles, and 
became conscious that his true affinities 
were not with those who came in contact 
only with his sensuous nature. He had 
never understood himself until now. 

A long meditation, the reader thinks ; 
but, in reality, it was only an electric 
current, awakening a series of related 



thoughts ; as a flash of lightning at night 
illumines at once a crowd of objects in 
a landscape, which the mind perceives, 
but cannot follow in detail. 

When, at length, Greenleaf looked up, 
he was astonished to find the room silent, 
and himself with his companion in the fo- 
cus of ah 1 eyes. Marcia looked on with 
a curiosity in which there was perhaps a 
shade of apprehension. Easelmann re- 
lieved the momentary embarrassment by 
walking towards his friend, with a mean- 
ing glance, and taking a seat near Mrs. 
Sandford. 

" I can't allow this," said Easelmann. 
" You have had your share of Mrs. Sand- 
ford's time. It is my turn. Besides, you 
will forget it all when you cross the 
room." 

" Trust me, I shall never forget," 
said Greenleaf, with a marked emphasis, 
and a grateful look towards the lovely 
widow. 

"What's this? What's this?" said 
Easelmann, rapidly. "Insatiate trifler, 
could not one suffice ? " 

" Oh, we understand each other, per- 
fectly," said Mrs. Sandford, in a placid 
tone. 

" You do, eh ? I should have inter- 
rupted you sooner. It might have saved 
my peace of mind, and perhaps relieved 
some other anxieties I have witnessed. 
But go, now ! " Greenleaf turned away 
with a smile. 

Marcia at once proposed a duet to 
conclude the entertainment, Rossini's 
Mira bianco luna, a piece for which she 
had reserved her force, and in which she 
could display the best qualities of her voice 
and style. Greenleaf had a high and 
pure tenor voice ; he exerted himself to 
support her, and with some success ; the 
duet was a fitting close to a delightful and 
informal concert But he was thorough- 
ly sobered ; the effects he produced were 
from cool deliberation, rather than the 
outbursts of an enthusiastic temper. Ear- 
lier in the evening the tones and the 
glances of his companion would have sent 
fiery thrills along his nerves and lifted 
him above all self-control. 



76 



Bulls and Bears. 



[January, 



In the buzz of voices tb'at followed, 
Marcia commenced a lively colloquy with 
Greenleaf, as though she desired to leave 
him under the impressions with which 
the evening commenced. The amuse- 
ments of summer were discussed, the 
merits of watering-places and other fash- 
ionable resorts, when Greenleaf acciden- 
tally mentioned that he and Easelmann 
were going presently to Nahant. 

" Delightful ! " she exclaimed, " to en- 
joy the ocean and coast-scenery after the 
rush of company has left ! While the 
fashionable season lasts, there is nothing 
but dress and gossip. You are wise to 
avoid it." 

" I think so," he replied. " Neither 
my tastes nor my pursuits incline me to 
mingle in what is termed fashionable so- 
ciety. It makes too large demands upon 
one's time, to say nothing of the expense 
or the unsatisfactory nature of its pleas- 
ures." 

" I agree with you. So you are going 
to sketch. Would not you and Mr. Ea- 
selmann like some company ? You will 
not pore over your canvas all day, sure- 

iy." 

" We should be delighted ; / should, 
certainly. And if you will look at my 
friend's face just now, as he is talking to 
your beautiful sister-in-law, you will see 
that he would not object." 

"Do you think Lydia is beautiful?" 
The tone was quiet, but the glance ques- 
tioning. 

" Not classically beautiful, but one of 
the most lovely, engaging women I ever 
met" 

" Yes, she is charming, truly. I don't 
think her strikingly handsome, though ; 
but tastes rarely agree, you know. I 
only asked to ascertain your predilec- 
tions." 

" I understand," thought Greenleaf; 
but he made no further reply. 

" Don't be surprised, if you see us be- 
fore your stay is over, that is, if Lydia 
and I can induce Charles to go down 
with us. Henry is too busy, I suppose." 

Charles passed just then ; he was en- 
deavoring to form a cotillon, declaring 



that talk was slow, and, now that the 
music was over, a dance would be the 
thing. 

" Charles, you will go to Nahant for a 
week, won't you ? " 

"What! now?" 

" In a day or two." 

" Too cold, Sister Marcia ; too late, 
altogether." 

" But you were unwilling to go early 
in the season." 

" Too early is as bad as too late ; it is 
chilly there till the company comes. No 
billiards, no hops, no pwetty girls, no sail- 
ing, no wides on the beach, no pwome- 
nades on the moonlight side of the piaz- 
za. No, my deah, Nahant is stupid till 
the curwent sets that way." 

" Southern visitors warm the coast 
like the Gulf Stream, I suppose," said 
Greenleaf. 

" Pwecisely so," then, after the idea 
had reached his brain, adding, " Vewy 
good, Mr. Gweenleaf! Vewy good !" 

The soiree ended as all seasons of 
pleasure must, and without the dance on 
which Charles had set his heart. The 
friends walked home together. Green- 
leaf was rather silent, but Easelmann at 
last made him talk. 

" What do you think of the beauty, 
now ? " the elder asked. 

" Still brilliant, bewitching, dangerous." 

" You are not afraid of her ? " 

" Upon my soul, I believe I am." 

" What has frightened you ? What 
faults or defects have you seen ? " 

" Two. One is, she uses perfumes too 
freely. Stop that laugh of yours ! It's 
a trifling thing, but it is an indication. I 
don't like it." 

" Fastidious man, what next ? Has 
she more hairs on one eyebrow than the 
other ? Or did you see a freckle of the 
size of a fly's foot ? " 

" The second is in her manner, which, 
in spite of its ease and apparent artless- 
ness, has too much method in it. Her 
suavity is no more studied than her rap- 
tures. She is frosted all over, frosted 
like a cake, I mean, and not with ice. 
And, to follow the image, I have no idea 



1859.] 



Butts and Bears. 



77 



what sort of a compound the tasteful con- 
fectionery covers." 

" Well, if that is all, I think she has 
come out from under your scrutiny pret- 
ty well. I should like to see the woman 
in whom you would not find as many 
faults." 

" If a man does not notice trifles, he 
will never learn much of character. With 
women especially, one should be as ob- 
serving as a Huron on the trail of an 
enemy." 

" Ferocious hunter, who supposed there 
were so many wiles in your simple heart? " 

" Odd enough, there seemed to be a 
succession of warnings this evening. I 
was dazzled at first, I own, almost 
hopelessly smitten. But Sandford gave 
me a jolt by bringing in business; he 
thinks there is to be a smash, and advises 
me to make hay while the sun shines. 
Then I talked with Mrs. Sandford." 

" Now we come to the interesting part 
to me ! " 

" But I shan't gratify you, you mous- 
er ! It is enough to say, that in a 
fow simple words, uttered, I am sure, 
without forethought, she placed my fri- 
volity before me, and then showed me 
what I might and ought to be. I was 
like a grasshopper before, drunk with 
dew, and then sobered by a plunge into 
a clear, cool spring. Besides, I have 
thought more about your advice in re- 
gard to the lady, you dissembling old 
rascal ! For you know that in such mat- 
ters you never mean what you say ; and 
when you counsel me to fall in love with 
a coquette, you only wish me to be warn- 
ed in time and make good my escape. 
If it were light enough, I should see that 
grizzly moustache of yours curl like a 
cat's, this minute. You can grin, you 
amiable Mephistopheles, but I know you ! 
No, my dear Easelmann, I am cured. I 
shall take hold of my pencils with new 
energy. I will save money and go abroad, 

and 1 had nearly forgotten her ! I 

will take a new look at my darling's 
sweet face in my pocket, and, like Ulys- 
ses, I'll put wax into my ears when I 
meet the singing Siren again." 



" I hope your rustic fiancee is not 
clairvoyant ? " 

" I hope not." 

" If she is, she will cry her little eyes 
out to-night." 

" Don't speak of it, I beg of you." 

" You are getting lugubrious ; we shall 
have to change the subject Love affects 
people in as many different ways as wine. 
Some are exalted, their feet spurn the 
earth, their heads are in the clouds ; some 
pugnacious, walking about with a chip on 
the shoulder; others are stupidly happy, 
their faces wearing a sickly smile that 
becomes painful to look at ; others again, 
like you, melancholy as a wailing tenor 
in the last act of ' Lucia,' Like learning, 
a little draught of love is \dangerous ; 
drink largely and be sober. The charm- 
er will not cast so powerful a spell upon 
you the next time, and you will come 
away more tranquil." 

There was just the least shade of sar- 
casm in the tone, and Greenleaf, as usual, 
was a little puzzled. For Easelmann 
was a study, always agreeable, never 
untruthful, but fond of launching an idea 
like a boomerang, to sweep away, ap- 
parently, but to return upon some un- 
expected curve. His real meaning could 
not always be gathered from any isolated 
sentence ; and to strangers he was a liv- 
ing riddle. But Greenleaf had passed 
the excitable period, and had lapsed into 
a state of moody repentance and grim 
resolution. 

" You need not tempt me," he said, 
" even if that were your object, which 
I doubt, you sly fox ! And if you mean 
only to pique my pride in order to cure 
my inconstancy to my betrothed, I assure 
you it is quite unnecessary. I shall have 
too much self-respect to place myself in 
the way of temptation again." 

" Now you are growing disagreeable ; 
the virtuous resolutions of a diner-out, on 
the headachy morning after, are never 
pleasant to hear. There is so much im- 
plied ! One does not like to follow the 
idea backward to its naughty source. 
The penitent should keep his sermons 
and soda-water to himself." 



Butts and Bears. 



[January, 



" Well, here we are at home. We 
have walked a mile, and yet it seems 
but a furlong. If I were not so disagree- 
able as you say, we would take another 
turn about the Common." 

" Sleep will do you more good, my 
friend ; and I think I'll go home. I 
haven't smoked since dinner. Good 
night ! " 

Greenleaf went to his room, but not at 
once to sleep ; his nerves were still too 
tremulous. With the picture of Alice 
before him, he sat for hours in a dreamy 
reverie ; and when at last he went to bed, 
he placed the miniature under his pillow. 

CHAPTER VIIL 
A YOUNG FINANCIER AT HOME. 

JOHN FLETCHER lived in a small, but 
neat house at the South End. Slender 
and youthful as he looked, he was not a 
bachelor, but had a pretty, fragile-look- 
ing wife, to whom he was married when 
only nineteen years of age. Such a union 
could have been brought about only by 
what the world calls an indiscretion, or 
from an unreflecting, hasty impulse. Girl 
as Mrs. Fletcher seemed to be, she was 
not without prudence as a housekeeper ; 
and as far as she could command her in- 
constant temper, she made home attrac- 
tive to her husband. But neither of them 
had the weight of character to act as a 
counterpoise to the vacillation of the oth- 
er. It was not a sun and a planet, the 
one wheeling about the other, nor yet 
were they double stars, revolving about 
a centre common to both; their move- 
ments were like nothing so much as the 
freaks of a couple of pith-balls electrical- 
ly excited, at one time drawn furiously 
together, and then capriciously repelling 
each other. Their loves, caresses, spats, 
quarrels, poutings, and reconciliations 
were as uncertain as the vagaries of the 
weather, as little guided by sense or 
reason as the passions of early childhood. 
On one subject they agreed at all times, 
and that was to pet and spoil most thor- 
oughly their infant daughter, a puny, 
weak-voiced, slender-limbed, curly-haired 



child, with the least possible chance of 
living to the age of womanhood. 

Fletcher was confidential clerk to the 
great banking-house of Foggarty, Dan- 
forth, and Dot. The senior partner rare- 
ly took any active part in business, but 
left it to the management of Danforth 
and Dot. Danforth had the active brain 
to plan, Dot the careful, cool faculty to 
execute. Fletcher had a good salary, 
so large that he could always reserve a 
small margin for "outside operations," 
by which in one way or another he gen- 
erally contrived to lose. 

The god he worshipped was Chance ; 
by which I do not refer at all to any the- 
ory of the creation of matter, but to the 
course and order of human affairs. His 
drawers were full of old lottery-schemes ; 
he did not long buy tickets, because he 
was too shrewd ; but he made endless 
calculations upon the probability of draw- 
ing prizes, provided the tickets were 
really all sold, and the wheel fairly man- 
aged. A dice-box was always at hand 
upon the mantel. He had portraits of 
celebrated racers, both quadruped and 
biped, and he could tell the fastest time 
ever made by either. His manipulation 
of cards was, as ' his friends averred, one 
of the fine arts ; and in all the games he 
had wrought out problems of chances, 
and knew the probability of every con- 
tingency. A stock-list was always tacked 
above his secretary, and another con- 
stantly in his pocket. And this evening 
he had brought home a revolving disk, 
having figures of various values engraved 
around its edge, carefully poised, with a 
hair-spring pointer, like a hand on a dial- 
plate. 

" What have you got, John ? " asked 
his wife. 

" Only a toy, a plaything, deary. See 
it spin ! " and he gave the disk a whirl. 

"But what is it for?" 

" Oh, nothing in particular. I thought 
we could amuse ourselves in turning it 
for the largest throws." 

" Is that all ? It is a heavy thing, and 
must have cost a good lot of money." 

" Not much. Now see ! You know 



1859.] 



Butts and Bears. 



79 



I have tried to show you how chance 
rules the world ; and if you once get the 
chances in your favor, all is right. Now 
suppose we take this wheel, and on the 
number 2,000 we paste ' Michigan Cen- 
tral,' ' Western ' over 1,000, ' Vermont 
and Massachusetts ' over 500, ' Gary Im- 
provement ' over 400, and so on. Now, 
after a certain number of revolutions, by 
keeping account, we get the chance of 
each stock to come up." 

" I don't understand." 

" I don't suppose you do ; you don't 
give your mind to it, as I do." 

" But you know you had the same 
notion once about cards, and pasted the 
names of the stocks on the court cards ; 
and then you shuffled and cut and dealt 
and turned up, night after night." 

" Little doxy ! small piece of prop- 
erty ! you'd best attend to that baby, and 
other matters that you know something 
about." 

The "little doxy" felt strongly in- 
clined to cry, but she kept back the sobs 
and said, " You know, John, how sullen 
and almost hateful you were before, when 
you were bewitched after those mean 
stocks, i don't think you should med- 
dle witl/ such things ; they are too big 
for you Let the rich fools gamble, if 
they T*"it to ; if they lose, they can 
afford >t and nobody cares but to laugh 
at them. Oh, John, you promised me 
you wouldn't gamble any more." 

" Well, I don't gamble. I haven't 
been to a faro bank for a year. I stay 
away just to please you, although I know 
all the chances, and could break the bank 
as easy as falling off a log." 

" You don't gamble, you say, but you 
are uneasy till you put all your money 
at risk on those paper things. I don't 
see t^e difference." 

" You needn't see the difference ; no- 
body asked you to see the difference. 
Garble, indeed ! there isn't a man on 
the street that doesn't keep an eye on 
the paper things, as you call them." 

" iTou see what I told you. You are 
crows. You like anything better (a sob) 
than your poor (another) neglected wife." 



The sobs now thickened into a cry, 
and, with streaming eyes, she picked up 
the puny child and declared she was go- 
ing to bed. To this proposal the moody 
man emphatically assented. But as Mrs. 
Fletcher passed near her husband, the 
child reached out its slender arms and 
caught hold of him by his cravat, scream- 
ing, " Papa ! papa ! I stay, papa ! " 

" Let go ! " roughly exclaimed the ami- 
able father. But she held the tighter, 
and shouted, " Papa ! my papa ! " 

What sudden freak overcame his an- 
ger probably not even Fletcher himself 
could tell. But, turning towards his wife, 
who was supporting the child, whose little 
fingers still held him fast, his face cleai'ed 
instantly, and, with a sudden^ movement, 
he drew the surprised and delighted wom- 
an down upon his knee, and loaded her 
with every form of childish endearment. 
Her tears and sorrows vanished together, 
like the dew. 

" Little duck," said he, " if I were 
alone, I shouldn't care for any more 
money. I know I can always take care 
of myself. But for your sake I want to 
be independent, rich, if you please. I 
want to be free. I want to meet that 
wily, smooth, plausible, damned, respec- 
table villain face to face, and with as 
much money as he." 

His eyes danced with a furious light 
and motion, and the fringy moustache 
trembled over his thin and sensitive 
mouth. But in a moment he repented 
the outbreak ; for his wife's face blanch- 
ed then, and the tears leaped from her 
eyes. 

" Oh, John," she exclaimed, " what is 
this awful secret? I know that some- 
thing is. killing you. You mutter in 
sleep ; you are sullen at times; and thru 
you break out in this dreadful way." 

Fletcher meditated. " I can't tell her ; 
'twould kill her, and not do any good 
either. No, one good streak of luck will 
set me up where I can defy him. I'll 
grin and bear it" 

" What is it, John ? Tell your poor 
little wife ! " 

" Oh, nothing, my dear. I do some 



80 



Bulh and Bears. 



[January, 



business for Sandford, who is apt to be 
domineering, that's all. To-day he pro- 
voked me, and when I am mad it does 
me good to swear ; it's as natural as light- 
ning out of a black cloud." 

" It may do you good to swear, John ; 
but it makes the cold chills run over me. 
Why do you have anything to do with 
anybody that treats you so ? You are so 
changed from what you were ! Oh, John, 
something is wrong, I know. Your face 
looks sharp and inquiring. You are thin 
and uneasy. There's a wrinkle in your 
cheek, that used to be as smooth as a 
girl's." 

She patted his face softly, as it rested 
on her shoulder ; but he made no reply 
save by an absent, half-audible whistle. 

" You don't answer me, John, dear ! " 

" I've nothing especial to say, doxy, 
only that I will wind up with Sandford as 
soon as we finish the business in hand." 

" The business in hand ? Has he any- 
thing to do with Foggarty, Danforth, and 
Dot?" 

Fletcher was not skilful under cross- 
examination. So he simply answered, 
" No," and then stopping her mouth with 
kisses, promised to explain the matter 
another day. 

" Well, John, I am tired ; I think I'll 
take baby and go to bed. Don't sit up 
and get blue over your troubles ! " 

As she left the room, Fletcher drew a 
long breath. What an accent of despair 
was borne on that sigh ! His busy brain 
was active in laying plans which his vacil- 
lating will could never execute without 
help. Often before, he had determined 
to confront Sandford and defy him ; but 
as often he had quailed before that self- 
possessed and imperious man. What hope 
was there, then, for this timid, crouching 
man, as long as the hand of his haughty 
master was outstretched in command ? 
None ! 

CHAPTER IX. 

STATE STREET. 

THE stringency of the money-market 
oegan to frighten even Mr. Sandford, 



who had been predicting a panic. There 
had been but few failures, and those were 
generally of houses that ought to fail, 
being insolvent from losses or misman- 
agement. Mr. Sandford studied over his 
sheet of bills payable and receivable al- 
most hourly. The amount intrusted to 
him by Monroe had been loaned out ; 
for which he was now very sorry, as the 
rate of interest had nearly doubled since 
he made the last agreement. This, how- 
ever, was but a small item in his accounts ; 
other transactions of greater magnitude 
occupied his attention. As he looked over 
the array of promisors and indorsers, he 
said to himself, " I am safe. If these men 
fail, it will be because the universal bottom 
has dropped out and chaos come again. 
If anybody is shaky, it is Stearine. He 
believes, though, that Bullion will help 
him through, and extend that note. Per- 
haps he will. Perhaps, again, he will 
have enough to do to keep on his own 
legs. He fancies himself strong because 
he owns the most of the Neversink Mills. 
But he doesn't know what I know, that 
Kerbstone, the treasurer of the Mills, is 
in the street every day, looking like a 
gambler when his last dollar is on the 
table. A few more turns of the screw 
and down goes Kerbstone. Who knows 
that the Mills won't tumble, too, and Bul- 
lion after them ? He may go hang ; but 
we must look after Stearine, and prop 
him, if necessary. That twenty thousand 
is more than we can afford to lose just 
now. Lucky, there he comes ! " 

Mr. Stearine entered, not with his usual 
smile, but with an expression like that of 
a man trying to be jolly with the tooth- 
ache. A short, but dexterous cross-ex- 
amination showed to Sandford, that, if 
the twenty-thousand-dollar note could be 
extended over to better times, Stearine 
was safe. But the note was soon due, and 
Bullion might be unable or unwilling to 
renew ; in which case, the Vortex would 
have to meet it. That was a contingency 
to be provided against ; for Mr. Sandford 
did not intend that the public should 
know that the credit of the Company had 
been used for private purposes by its 



1359.] 



Bidls and Bears. 



81 



officers. He therefore called in Mr. 
Fayerweather, the President, and the 
affair was talked over and settled be- 
tween them. 

" One thing more," said Sandford. 
" Suppose any one should get wind of 
this, and grow suspicious ; Bullion him- 
self might be foolish enough to let the 
cat out of the bag ; we might find the 
shares of the Vortex in the market, and 
the bears running them down to an un- 
comfortable figure." 

" True enough. We must stop that." 

" The only way is to keep a sharp look- 
out, and if any of the stock is offered, to 
buy it up. Half a dozen of us can take 
all that will be likely to come into mar- 
ket." 

" How many shares do you own, Sand- 
ford ? " asked Mr. Fayerweather, with a 
quizzical look. " Is this a nice little 
scheme of yours to run them off at par ? 
It's a shrewd dodge." 

" You do me wrong," said Sandford, 
with a look of wounded innocence. '.' I 
merely want to sustain the credit of the 
Company." 

" Oh, no doubt ! " said the President. 
" Well, we will agree, then, not to let the 
shares fall below ninety, say. It would 
be suspicious, I think, to hold them higher 
than that, when money is two and a half 
per cent, a month." 

" Very well. You will see to this ? 
Be careful what men you speak to." 

Mr. Sandford, being left alone, be- 
thought him of Monroe. He did not wish 
to give him a statement of affairs; he had 
put him off once, and must find some way 
to satisfy him. How was it to be done ? 
The financier meditated. " I have it," 
said he ; " I'll send him a quarter's in- 
terest in advance. That's as much as I 
can spare in these times, when interest 
grows like those miraculous pumpkin- 
vines out West." He drew a check for 
two hundred dollars, and dispatched it to 
Monroe by letter. 

So Mr. Sandford had all things snug. 
The Vortex was going on under close- 
reefed, topsails. If the notes he held 
were paid as they matured, he would 

VOL. III. 6 



have money for new operations ; if not, 
he had arranged that the debtors should 
be piloted over the bar and anchored in 
safety till the storm should blow over. 
Everything was secured, as far as human 
foresight could anticipate. 

Mr. Sandford had now but little use for 
Fletcher's services, except to look after 
his debtors, to know who was " shin- 
ning " in the street, or " kite-flying " with 
accommodation-paper. Still he did not 
admit the agent intd his confidence. But 
this active and scheming mind was not 
long without employment. Mr. Bullion 
had seen him in frequent communication 
with Sandford, and thereby formed a 
high opinion of his shrewdness and tact ;: 
for he knew that Sandford was very wary 
in selecting his associates.. He sought 
Fletcher. 

" Young man," said Bullion, pointing 
his wisp of an eyebrow at him, " do you 
want a job ? Few words and keep mum. 
Yes or no ? " 

" Yes," said Fletcher, decidedly. 

" I like your pluck," said Bullion. 

" It doesn't take much pluck to follow 
Mr. Bullion's lead." 

" None of your nonsense. How do you 
know anything about me, or what I am 
going to do ? I may fail to-morrow, 
God forbid ! but when the wind comes, 
it's the tall trees that are knocked over." 

Fletcher thought the comparison rather 
ludicrous for a man standing on such re- 
markably short pegs, but he said nothing. 

" I mean to sell a few shares of stock, 
and I want you to do the business. I am 
not to be known in it." 

Fletcher bowed, and asked what the 
stocks were. 

" No matter ; any you can sell to ad- 
vanta<Te. I haven't a share, but I needn't 

D 

tell you that doesn't make any differ- 
ence." 

" Let me understand you clearly," said 
Fletcher. 

" Sell under. For instance, take a 
stock that sells to-day at ninety-four ; of- 
fer to deliver it five days hence at ninety. 
To-morrow offer it a peg lower, and so 
on, till the market is easier. When the 



82 



Bulls and Bears. 



[January, 



first contract is up, we shall get the stock 
at eighty-eight, or less, perhaps, deliver 
to the buyers, and pocket the difference." 

" But it may not fall." 

" It's bound to fall. People that hold 
stock must sell to pay their notes. Every 
day brings a fresh lot of shares to the 
hammer." 

" But the bulls may corner you ; they 
will try mightily to keep prices up." 

" But they can't corner, I tell you ; 
there are too many of them in distress. 
Besides, we'll spread ; we won't put all 
our eggs into one basket. If I stuck to 
" bearing " one stock, the holders might 
get all the shares and break me by keep- 
ing them so that I couldn't comply with 
my contracts. I shan't do it. I'll pitch 
into the " fancies " mainly ; they are held 
by speculators, who must be short, and 
they'll come down with a run." 

" How deep shall I go in ? " 

" Fifty thousand, to begin with. How- 
ever, there won't be many transfers actu- 
ally made ; the bulls will merely pay the 
differences." 

" Or else waddle out of the street 
lame ducks." 

Bullion rubbed his hands, while his 
eyes shone with a colder glitter. 

" Well, you are a bear, truly," said 
Fletcher, with unfeigned admiration, " a 
real Ursa Major." 

" To be sure, I'm a bear. What's the 
use in being a bull in times like these, to 
be skinned and sold for your hide and 
tallow ? " 

" The market is falling, and no mis- 
take." 

" Yes, and will fall lower. Stocks 
haven't been down since '37 so low as 
you will see them a month from now." 

Fletcher bowed and waited. Bul- 
lion pointed the eyebrow again. 

" You don't want to begin on an un- 
certainty. I see. Sharp. Proper enough. 
I'll give you ten per cent, of the profits, 
you to pay the commissions. Each day's 
work to be set down, and at the end 
of each week I'll give you a note for 
your share. That do? I thought it 
-would. -I -offer a liberal figure, for I 



think you know something, youngster. 
Use your judgment, now. Consult me, 
of course ; but mum's the word. If any 
stock is pushed in, lay hold, and don't be 
afraid. The holders must sell, and they 
must sacrifice. We'll skin 'em, by G ," 
said Bullion, with an excitement that was 
rare in a cool, hard head like his. Then 
thinking he had been too outspoken, he 
resumed his former concise manner. 

"All fair, you know. Bargain is a 
bargain. They must sell ; we won't buy, 
without we buy cheap ; their loss, to be 
sure, but our gain. All trade on the 
same plan. Seller gets the most he can ; 
buyer pays only what he must." 

" That's it," said Fletcher. " Every 
man for himself in this world." 

" Well, good morning, young man. 
Sharp's the word. Call at my office 
this afternoon." And, with a queer 
sweep of the pointed eyebrow, he de- 
parted. 

What visions of opulence rose before 
Fletcher's fancy ! He would now lay 
the foundations of his fortune, and, per- 
haps, accomplish it. He would beoome 
a power in State Street ; and, best of 
all, he would escape from his slavery to 
Sandford, and perhaps even patronize 
the haughty man he had so long served. 
How to begin ? He could not attend the 
sales at the Brokers' Board in person, as 
he was not a member. Should he confide 
in Danforth ? No, for, with his relations 
to the house, his own share in the profits 
would be whittled down. He determined 
to employ Tpnsor, an old acquaintance, 
who would be glad to buy and sell for 
the regular commissions. The prelim- 
inaries were speedily concluded, and a 
list of stocks made out on which to oper- 
ate. The excitement was almost too 
great for Fletcher to bear. As he count- 
ed the piles of bank-bills on his employ- 
ers' counter, or stacked up heaps of coin, 
in his ordinary business, he fancied him- 
self another AH Baba, in a cave to which 
he had found the Open Sesame, and he 
could hardly contain himself till the time 
should come when he should take posses- 
sion of his unimaginable wealth, lie had 



1859.] 



Balls and Bears. 



83 



built air-castles before, but never one 
so magnificent, so real. He could have 
hugged Bullion, bear as he was. We 
leave Fletcher and his principal on the 
high road to success. 

CHAPTER X. 

THE SIREN COMES TO THE SEA-SHORE. 

GREENLEAF worked assiduously upon 
his landscapes, and, notwithstanding the 
pressure in the money-market, was fortu- 
nate enough to dispose of them to gentle- 
men whose incomes were not affected by 
the vicissitudes of business. For this he 
was principally indebted to Sandford, 
who took pains to bring his works to the 
notice of connoisseurs. But, with all his 
success, the object of his ambition was as 
far off as at first. Imperceptibly he had 
acquired expensive habits. He was not 
prodigal, not extravagant ; but, having a 
keen sense of the beautiful, he gradually 
became more fastidious in dress, and in 
all those nameless elegancies which seem 
of right to belong to the accomplished 
man, as to the gentleman in easy circum- 
stances. This desire for ease and luxury 
did not conflict with simplicity ; he seem- 
ed born for all the enjoyment which the 
most cultivated society could bestow. He 
had the power to spend the income of a 
fortune worthily ; unhappily, he did not 
have it to spend. He had written con- 
stantly to his betrothed, and when he 
told her of the prices he had received 
for his pictures, he was at a loss how to 
make her comprehend the new relations 
into which he had grown, to explain 
that he was practically as poor as when 
he first came to the city. How could he 
assure her of his desire to end the en- 
gagement in marriage, if he spoke of 
postponement now that he had an in- 
come beyond his first expectations ? Im- 
perceptibly to himself, his letters became 
more like intellectual conversations, or 
essays, rather, pleasant enough in them- 
selves, but far different from the simple 
and fervent epistles he wrote while the 
memory of Alice was fresher. She felt 
this, although she had not reasoned upon 



it, and her sensitive womanly heart was 
full of vague forebodings. 

Would he confess to himself, that, as 
he looked at her cherished picture, anoth- 
er face, with a more brilliant air and a 
more dazzling beauty, came between him 
and the silent image before him ? Dared 
he to think, that, in his frequent visits to 
Miss Sandford, the ties which bound him 
to his betrothed were daily weakening ? 
that he found a charm in the very 
caprices and waywardness of the new 
love, which the unvarying constancy and 
placid affection of the old had never 
created ? The one put her heart un- 
reservedly into his keeping ; she knew 
nothing of concealment, and he read her 
as he would an unsophisticated child ; 
there was not a nook or cranny in her 
heart, he thought, that he had not ex- 
plored. The other was full of surprises ; 
she had as many phases as an April day ; 
and from mere curiosity, if from no other 
motive, Greenleaf was piqued to follow 
on to understand her real character. The 
apprehensions he felt at first wore away ; 
he became accustomed to her measured 
sentences and her apparently artificial 
manner. What seemed affectation now 
became a natural expression. The se- 
cret influence she exerted increased, and, 
at length, possessed him wholly while in 
her company. It drew him as the moon 
draws the tides, silently, unconsciously, 
but with a power he could not resist. It 
was only when he was away from her 
that he could reason himself into a be- 
lief in his independence. 

Greenleaf and Easelmann were at Na- 
hant at the close of the season. A few 
straggling visitors only remained ; the 
fashionable world had returned to the 
city. The friends wandered over the 
rocky peninsula, walked the long beach 
that leads to the main land, sketched the 
sea from the shore, and the shore from 
the sea, and watched and traii-fcrn-d the 
changing phases of Nature in sunshine 
and in storm. They were fortunate 
enough to see one magnificent tempest, 
by which the ocean was lashed into fu- 
ry, breaking in thunder over the rugged 



84 



Bulls and Bears. 



[January, 



coast-line, and dashing spray sheer over 
the huge back of Egg Rock. 

Miss Sandford's threat was carried into 
execution ; the family came to the hotel, 
and, for a week, Greenleaf and his friend 
were most devoted in their attentions. 
Marcia was charmed with their sketches, 
and, with a tact as delicate as it is rare, 
gave them time for their cherished pur- 
suits, and planned excursions only for 
their unemployed hours. They collected 
colored mosses, star-fish, and other ma- 
rine curiosities ; they sailed, fished, scam- 
pered over the rocks, drove over the beach 
at twilight, sang, danced, and bowled. 
And when weary of active amusement, 
they reclined on the grass and listened 
to the melancholy rote of the sea, the 
steady pulsations of its mighty heart. 

Easelmann, with his usual raillery, con- 
gratulated his friend on his prospects, and 
declared that the pupil was surpassing 
the teacher in the beau's arts. 

" Finely, Greenleaf ! You are just com- 
ing to the interesting part of the process. 
You are a little flushed, however, not 
quite cool enough. A wily adversary 
she is ; if you allow your feelings to run 
away with you, it's all up. She will hold 
the reins as coolly as you held your trot- 
ting pony yesterday. Keep the bits out 
of your mouth, my boy." 

" Don't trouble yourself. I shall keep 
cool. I am not going to make a fool of 
myself by proposing." 

" Oh, you aren't ? We shall see. But 
she'll refuse you, and then you'll come to 
your senses." 

" I'm deusedly afraid she would accept 
me." 

" The vanity of mankind ! Don't tell 
me that women are vain. Every man 
thinks himself irresistible, that he has 
only to call, to have the women come 
round him like colts around a farmer 
with a measure of corn. Shake the ker- 
nels in your dish, and cry, ' Kerjock ! ' 
Perhaps she will come." 

" I suppose you think, with Hosca Big- 
elow, that 

' 'Ta'n't a knowin' kind o' cattle 
That is ketched with mouldy corn.' " 



" I needn't tell you that Marcia Sand- 
ford is knowing, too knowing to let an 
enthusiastic lover relapse into a hum- 
drum husband. You amuse her now ; 
for she likes to enjoy poetry and senti- 
ment, dances, rides, and rambles, in com- 
pany with a man, of fresh susceptibilities ; 
a good phrase that, ' fresh susceptibili- 
ties.' The instant you become serious 
and ask her to marry you, the dream is 
over ; she will hate you." 

" Well, what is to become of a lady 
like this, a creature you think too bright, 
if not too good, for human nature's daily 
food ? " 

"An easy prophecy. The destiny of a 
pretty woman is to catch lovers." 

" ' The cat doth play, and after slay,' " 
said Greenleaf, laughing. 

" Play while you can, my dear boy ; if 
she is a cat, you'll get the final coup soon 
enough. To finish the fortune-telling, 
she will continue her present delightful 
pursuits as long as youth and beauty 
last ; and the beauty will last a long time 
after the youth has gone. She may pick 
up some young man of fortune and mar- 
ry him ; but it is not likely ; the rich al- 
ways marry the rich. Just this side of 
the blase period, while still in the fulness 
of her charms, she will open her battery 
of smiles upon some wealthy old widower 
and compel him to place her at the head 
of his establishment. Then, with a secure 
position and increased facilities, she will 
draw new throngs of admirers, as long as 
she has power to fascinate, or until there 
are no more fools left." 

" A pleasing picture of domestic felici- 
ty for the husband ! " 

" Precisely what he deserves. When 
an old fool marries a young flirt, he de- 
serves to wear whatever honors she may 
bestow upon him." 

" Do you remember hoW you artfully 
persuaded me into this intimacy ? And 
now you are making game of me for 
following your own suggestions." 

" Me ? I never suggest ; I never per- 
suade." 

" You did, you crafty old fox ! You 
advised me to fall in love with her." 



1859.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



85 



"Did I? Well, I think now you 
have gone far enough. A sip from 
the cup of enchantment is quite suffi- 
cient ; you needn't swallow the whole 
of it." 

" But people can't always control them- 
selves. Can you trust yourself to stop 
this side of insensibility, when you take 
ether ? or be sure you won't get drunk, if 
you commence the evening with a party 
of dissipated fellows ? " 

" That will do, my friend. I know 
there are people who are fond of con- 
fessing their weakness ; don't you do it 
Where is the supremacy of mind and 



will, and all that nonsense, if a man can't 
amuse himself with a clever woman's 
artifices without tumbling into the snare 
he is watching ? " 

" We'll see how you succeed with the 
charming widow, whether the wise 
man, when his own jecur is pierced 
with the arrow, may not show it, as well 
as other people. And by-the-by, you 
will have an excellent opportunity for 
your experiment. Marcia and I are go- 
ing to take a sail this afternoon, and you 
can entertain Mrs. Sandford while we 
are gone." 

Easelmann softly whistled. 



[ To be continued.] 



THE PROFESSOR AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE. 

WHAT HE SAID, WHAT HE HEARD, AND WHAT HE SAW. 



I INTENDED to have signalized my 
first appearance by a certain large state- 
ment, which I flatter myself is the near- 
est approach to a universal formula of 
life yet promulgated at this breakfast- 
table. It would have had a grand ef- 
fect. For this purpose I fixed my eyes 
on a certain divinity-student, with the 
intention of exchanging a few phrases, 
and then forcing my picture-card, name- 
ly, The great end of being. I will thank 
you for the sugar, I said. Man is a 
dependent creature. 

It is a small favor to ask, said the divin- 
ity-student, and passed the sugar to me. 

Life is a great bundle of little 

things, I said. 

The divinity-student smiled, as if that 
was the concluding epigram of the sugar 
question. 

You smile, I said. Perhaps life seems 
to you a little bundle of great things ? 

The divinity-student started a laugh, 
but suddenly reined it back with a pull, 
as one throws a horse on his haunches. 
Life is a great bundle of great things, 
he said. 



(Now, then!} The great end of being, 

after all, is 

Hold on ! said my neighbor, a 
young fellow whose name seems to be 
John, and nothing else, for that is what 
they all call him, hold on ! the Scul- 
pin is go'n' to say somethin'. 

Now the Sculpin (Cotlus Viry'utianus) 
is a little water-beast which pretends to 
consider itself a fish, and, under that pre- 
text, hangs about the piles upon which 
West-Boston Bridge is built, swallowing 
the bait and hook intended for flounders. 
On being drawn from the water, it ex- 
poses an immense head, a diminutive 
bony carcass, and a surface so full of 
spiiies, ridges, ruffles, and frills, that the 
naturalists have not been able to count 
them without quarrelling about the num- 
ber, and that the colored youth, whose 
sport they spoil, do not like to touch 
them, and especially to tread on them, 
unless they happen to have shoes on, 
to cover the thick white soles of their 
broad black feet. 

When, therefore, I heard the young 
fellow's exclamation, I looked round the 



86 



The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



[January, 



table with curiosity to see what it meant. 
At the further end of it I saw a head, 
and a small portion of a little deformed 
body, mounted on a high chair, which 
brought the occupant up to a fair level 
enough for him to get at his food. His 
whole appearance was so grotesque, I 
felt for a minute as if there was a show- 
man behind him who would pull him 
down presently and put up Judy, or the 
hangman, or the Devil, or some other 
wooden personage of the famous spec- 
tacle. I contrived to lose the first part 
of his sentence, but what I heard be- 
gan so : 

by the Frog-Pond, when there 

were frogs in it, and the folks used to 
come down from the tents on 'Lection 
and Independence days with their pails 
to get water to make egg-pop with. 
Born in Boston ; went to school in Bos- 
ton as long as the boys would let me. 
The little man groaned, turned, as if 
to look round, and went on. Ran away 
from school one day to see Phillips hung 
for killing Denegri with a loggerhead. 
That was in flip days, when there were 
always two or three loggerheads in the 
fire. I'm a Boston boy, I tell you, born 
at North End, and mean to be buried on 
Copps' Hill, with the good old under- 
ground people, the Worthylakes, and 
the rest of 'em. Yes, Sir, up on the old 
hill, where they buried Captain Daniel 
Malcolm in a stone grave, ten feet deep, 
to keep him safe from the red-coats, 
in those old times when the world was 
frozen up tight and there wasn't but 
one spot open, and that was right over 
Faneuil Hall, and black enough it look- 
ed, I tell you ! There's where my bones 
shall lie, Sir, and rattle away when the 
big guns go off at the Navy Yard oppo- 
site ! You can't make me ashamed of 
the old place ! Full of crooked little 
streets; I was born and used to run 
round in one of 'em 

1 should think so, said that young 

man whom I hear them call " John," 
softly, not meaning to be heard, nor to 
be cruel, but thinking in a half-whisper, 
evidently. I should think so ; and got 



kinked up, turnin' so many corners. The 
little man did not hear what was said, but 
went on, 

full of crooked little streets; but 

I tell you Boston has opened, and kept 
open, more turnpikes that lead straight 
to free thought and free speech and free 
deeds than any other city of live men or 
dead men, I don't care how broad their 
streets are, nor how high their steeples ! 

How high is Bosting meet'n'- 

liouse ? said a person with black whis- 
kers and imperial, a velvet waistcoat, a 
guard-chain rather too massive, and a 
diamond pin so very large that the most 
trusting nature might confess an inward 
suggestion, of course, nothing amount- 
ing to a suspicion. For this is a gen- 
tleman from a great city, and sits next 
to the landlady's daughter, who evident- 
ly believes in him, and is the object of 
his especial attention. 

How high ? said the little man. As 
high as the first step of the stairs that 
lead to the New Jerusalem. Isn't that 
high enough ? 

It is, I said. j The great end of be- 
ing is to harmonize man with the order 
of things ; and the church has been a 
good pitch-pipe, and may be so still. 
But who shall tune the pitch-pipe ? Quis 

cus (On the whole, as this quotation 

was not entirely new, and, being in a 
foreign language, might not be familiar 
to all the boarders, I thought I would 
not finish it.) 

Go to the Bible ! said a sharp 

voice from a sharp-faced, sharp-eyed, 
sharp-elbowed, strenuous-looking woman 
in a black dress, appearing as if it began 
as a piece of mourning and perpetuated 
itself as a bit of economy. 

You speak well, Madam, I said ; yet 
there is room for a gloss or commentary 
on what you say. " He who would bring 
back the wealth of the Indies must carry 
out the wealth of the Indies." What 
you bring away from the Bible depends 
to some extent on what you carry to it. 
Benjamin Franklin ! Be so good as to 
step up to my chamber and bring me 
down the small uncovered pamphlet of 



1839.] 



The Professor at tJte Breakfast- Table. 



87 



twenty pages which you will find ly- 
ing under the " Cruden's Concordance." 
[The boy took a large bite, which left a 
very perfect crescent in the slice of bread- 
and-butter he held, and departed on his 
errand, with the portable fraction of his 
breakfast to sustain him on the way.] 

Here it is. " Go to the Bible. A Dis- 
sertation, etc., etc. By J. J. Flournoy. 
Athens, Georgia. 1858." 

Mr. Flournoy, Madam, has obeyed the 
precept which you have judiciously de- 
livered. You may be interested, Madam, 
to know what are the conclusions at which 
Mr. J. J. Flournoy of Athens, Georgia, 
has arrived. You shall hear, Madam. 
He has gone to the Bible, and he has 
come back from the Bible, bringing a 
remedy for existing social evils, which, if 
it is the real specific, as it professes to be, 
is of great interest to humanity, and to 
the female part of humanity in particular. 
It is what he calls trigamy, Madam, or 
the marrying of three wives, so that 
" good old men " may be solaced at once 
by the companionship of the wisdom of 
maturity, and of those less perfected but 
hardly less engaging qualities which are 
found at an earlier period of life. He 
has followed your precept, Madam ; I 
hope you accept his conclusions. 

The female boarder in black attire 
looked so puzzled, and, in fact, " all 
abroad," after the deliver}' of this " coun- 
ter" of mine, that I left her to recover 
her wits, and went on with the conversa- 
tion, which I was beginning to get pretty 
well in hand. 

But in the mean time I kept my eye 
on the female boarder to see what ef- 
fect I had produced. First, she was a 
little stunned at having her argument 
knocked over. Secondly, she was a little 
shocked at the tremendous character of 
the triple matrimonial suggestion. Third- 
ly. I don't like to say what I thought 

Something seemed to have pleased her 
fancy. Whether it was, that, if trigamy 
should come into fashion, there would be 
three times as many chances to enjoy the 
luxury of saying, " No !" is more than I 
can tell you. I may as well mention that 



B. F. came to me after breakfast to borrow 
the pamphlet for " a lady," one of the 
boarders, he said, looking as if he had 
a secret he wished to be relieved of. 

1 continued. If a human soul is 

necessarily to be trained up in the faith 
of those from whom it inherits its body, 
why, there is the end of all reason. If, 
sooner or later, every soul is to look for 
truth with its own eyes, the first thing is 
to recognize that no presumption in favor 
of any particular belief arises from the 
fact of our inheriting it. Otherwise you 
would not give the Mahometan a fair 
chance to become a convert to a better 
religion. 

The second thing would be to depolar- 
ize every fixed religious idea in the mind 
by changing the word which stands for it. 

1 don't know what you mean by 

" depolarizing " an idea, said the divin- 
ity-student. 

I will tell you, I said. When a given 
symbol which represents a thought has 
lain for a certain length of time in the 
mind, it undergoes a change like that 
which rest in a certain position gives to 
iron. It becomes magnetic in its rela- 
tions, it is traversed by strange forces 
which did not belong to it. The word, 
and consequently the idea it represents, 
is polarized. 

The religious currency of mankind, in 
thought, in speech, and in print, con- 
sists entirely of polarized words. Bor- 
row one of these from another language 
and religion, and you will find it leaves 
all its magnetism behind it. Take that 
famous word, O'm, of the Hindoo mythol- 
ony. Even a priest cannot pronounce 
it without sin ; and a holy Pundit would 
shut his ears and run away from you in 
horror, if you should say it aloud. What 
do you care for O'm ? If you wanted to 
get the Pundit to look at his religion fairly, 
you must first depolarize this and all sim- 
ilar words for him. The argument for 
and against new translations of the Bible 
really turns on this. Skepticism is afraid 
to trust its truths in depolarized words, 
and so cries out against a new transla- 
tion. I think, myself, if every idea our 



88 



The Professor at the Brealifust-TaUe. 



[January, 



Book contains could be shelled out of its 
old symbol and put into a new, clean, 
unrnagnetic word, we should have some 
chance of reading it as philosophers, or 
wisdom-lovers, ought to read it, which we 
do not and cannot now, any more than a 
Hindoo can read the " Gayatri " as a fair 
man and lover of truth should do. When 
society has once fairly dissolved the New 
Testament, which it never has done yet, 
it will perhaps crystallize it over again 
in new forms of language. 

1 didn't know you was a settled 

minister over this parish, said the young 
fellow near me. 

A sermon by a lay-preacher may be 
worth listening to, I replied, calmly. 
It gives the parallax of thought and feel- 
ing as they appear to the observers from 
two very different points of view. If 
you wish to get the distance of a heavenly 
body, you know that you must take two 
observations from distant points of the 
earth's orbit, in midsummer and mid- 
winter, for instance. To get the parallax 
of heavenly truths, you must take an ob- 
servation from the position of the laity 
as well as of the clergy. Teachers and 
students of theology get a certain look, 
certain conventional tones of voice, a 
clerical gait, a professional neckcloth, and 
habits of mind as professional as their ex- 
ternals. They are scholarly men and 
read Bacon, and know well enough what 
the " idols of the tribe " are. Of course 
they have their false gods, as all men 
that follow one exclusive calling are 
prone to do. The clergy have played 
the part of the fly-wheel in our modern 
civilization. They have never suffered 
it to stop. They have often carried on its 
movement, when other moving powers 
failed, by the momentum stored in their 
vast body. Sometimes, too, they have 
kept it back by their vis inertice, when its 
wheels were like to grind the bones of 
some old canonized error into fertilizers 
for the soil that yields the bread of life. 
But the mainspring of the world's on- 
ward religious movement is not in them, 
nor in any one body of men, let me tell 
you. It is the people that makes the 



clergy, and not the clergy that makes the 
people. Of course, the profession reacts 
on its source with variable energy. But 
there never was a guild of dealers or a 
company of craftsmen that did not need 
sharp looking after. 

Our old friend, Dr. Holyoke, whom we 
gave the dinner to some time since, must 
have known many people that saw the 
great bonfire in Harvard College yard. 

Bonfire '? shrieked the little man. 

The bonfire when Robert Calef's book 
was burned ? 

The same, I said, when Robert 
Calef the Boston merchant's book was 
burned in the yard of Harvard College, 
by order of Increase Mather, President 
of the College and Minister of the Gospel. 
You remember the old witchcraft revival 
of '92, and how stout Master Robert Calef, 
trader, of Boston, had the pluck to tell 
the ministers and judges what a set of 
fools and worse than fools they were 

Remember it ? said the little man. I 
don't think I shall forget it, as long as I 
can stretch this forefinger to point with, 
and see whatit^wears. There was a ring 
on it. 

May I look at it ? I said. 

Where it is, said the little man ; it 
will never come off, till it falls off from 
the bone in the darkness and in the dust. 

He pushed the high chair on which 
he sat slightly back from the table, and 
dropped himself, standing, to the floor, 
his head being only a little above the 
level of the table, as he stood. With 
pain and labor, lifting one foot over the 
other, as a drummer handles his sticks, 
he took a few steps from his place, his 
motions and the dead beat of the mis- 
shapen boots announcing to my practised 
eye and ear the malformation which is 
called in learned language talipes varus, 
or inverted club-foot. 

Stop ! stop ! I said, let me come to 
you. 

The little man hobbled back, and 
lifted himself by the left arm, with an 
ease approaching to grace which sur- 
prised me, into his high chair. I walked 
to his side, and he stretched out the fore- 



1859.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



finger of his right hand, with the ring 
upon it. The ring had been put on long 
ago, and could not pass the misshapen 
joint It was one of those funeral rings 
which used to be given to relatives and 
friends after the decease of persons of 
any note or importance. Beneath a 
round bit of glass was a death's head. 
Engraved on one side of this, " L. B. zEt. 
22," on the other, " Ob. 1692." 

My grandmother's grandmother, said 
the little man. Hanged for a witch. It 
doesn't seem a great while ago. I knew 
my grandmother, and loved her. Her 
mother was daughter to the witch that 
Chief Justice Sewall hanged and Cotton 
Mather delivered over to the Devil. 
That was Salem, though, and not Boston. 
No, not Boston. Robert Calef, the Bos- 
ton merchant, it was that blew them all 
to 

Never mind where he blew them to, 
I said ; for the little man was getting red 
in the face, and I didn't know what might 
come next. 

This episode broke me up, as the jock- 
eys say, out of my square conversational 
trot ; but I settled down to it again. 

A man that knows men, in the 

street, at their work, human nature in its 
shirt-sleeves, who makes bargains with 
deacons, instead of talking over texts with 
them, a man who has found out that 
there are plenty of praying rogues and 
swearing saints in the world, above all, 
who has found out, by living into the pith 
and core of life, that all of the Deity 
which can be folded up between the 
sheets of any human book is to the Deity 
of the firmament, of the strata, of the 
hot aortic flood of throbbing human life, 
of this infinite, instantaneous conscious- 
ness in which the soul's being consists, 
an incandescent point in the filament 
connecting the negative pole of a past 
eternity with the positive pole of an 
eternity that is to come, that all of the 
Deity which any human book can hold is 
to this larger Deity of the working battery 
of the universe only as the films in a book 
of gold-leaf are to the broad seams and 
curdled lumps of ore that lie in unsunned 



mines and virgin placers,- 



89 

- Oh! I 

was saying that a man who lives out-of- 
doors, among live people, gets some things 
into his head he might not find in the 
index of his " Body of Divinity." 

I tell you what, the idea of the pro- 
fessions' digging a moat round their close 
corporations, like that Japanese one at 
Jeddo, which you could put Park-Street 
Church on the bottom of and look over 
the vane from its side, and try to stretch 
another such spire across it without span- 
ning the chasm, that idea, I say, is pret- 
ty nearly worn out. Now when a civil- 
ization or a civilized custom falls into 
senile dementia, there is commonly a 
judgment ripe for it, and it comes as 
plagues come, from a breath, as fires 
come, from a spark. 

Here, look at medicine. Big wigs, 
gold-headed canes, Latin prescriptions, 
shops full of abominations, recipes a yard 
long, " curing " patients by drugging as 
sailors bring a wind by whistling, selling 
lies at a guinea apiece, a routine, in 
short, of giving unfortunate sick people a 
mess of things either too odious to swal- 
low or too acrid to hold, or, if that were 
possible, both at once. 

You don't know what I mean, in- 
dignant and not unintelligent country- 
practitioner ? Then you don't know the 
history of medicine, and that i% not 
my fault. But don't expose yourself in 
any outbreak of eloquence ; for, by the 
mortar in which Anaxagoras was pound- 
ed ! I did not bring home Schenckius 
and Forestus and Hildanus, and all the 
old folios in calf and vellum I will show 
you, to be bullied by the proprietor of a 
" Wood and Bache," and a shelf of pep- 
pered sheepskin reprints by Philadelphia 
Editors. Besides, many of the profession 
and I know a little something of each 
other, and you don't think I am such a 
simpleton as to lose their good opinion by 
saying what the better heads among tlu'in 
would condemn as unfair and untrue ? 
Now mark how the great plague came on 
the generation of drugging doctors, and 
in what form it fell. 

A scheming drug-vendor, (inventive 



90 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[January, 



genius.) an utterly untrustworthy and in- 
competent observer, (profound searcher 
of Nature,) a shallow dabbler in erudition, 
(sagacious scholar,) started the monstrous 
fiction (founded the immortal system) of 
Homoeopathy. I am very fair, you see, 
you can help yourself to either of these 
sets of phrases. 

All the reason in the world would not 
have had so rapid and general an effect 
on the public mind to disabuse it of the 
idea that a drug is a good thing in it- 
self, instead of being, as it is, a bad thing, 
as was produced by the trick (system) of 
this German charlatan (theorist). Not 
that the wiser part of the profession need- 
ed him to teach them ; but the routinists 
and their employers, the " general prac- 
titioners," who lived by selling pills and 
mixtures, and their drug-consuming cus- 
tomers, had to recognize that people could 
get well, unpoisoned. These dumb cattle 
would not learn it of themselves, and so 
the murrain of' Homoeopathy fell on 
them. 

You don't know what plague has 

fallen on the practitioners of theology ? 
I will tell you, then. It is SPIRITUAL- 
ISM. While some are crying out against 
it as a delusion of the Devil, and some 
are laughing at it as an hysteric folly, and 
some are getting angry with it as a mere 
trickof interested or mischievous persons, 
Spiritualism is quietly undermining the 
traditional ideas of the future state which 
have been and are still accepted, not 
merely in those who believe in it, but in 
the general sentiment of the community, 
to a larger extent than most good peo- 
ple seem to be aware of. It needn't be 
true, to do this, any more than Homoeo- 
pathy need, to do its work. The Spirit- 
ualists have some pretty strong instincts 
to pry over, which no doubt have been 
roughly handled by theologians at differ- 
ent times. And the Nemesis of the pul- 
pit comes, in a shape it little thought of, 
beginning with the snap of a toe-joint, 
and ending with such a crack of old be- 
liefs that the roar of it is heard in all the 
ministers' studies of Christendom! Sir, 
you cannot have people of cultivation, 



of pure character, sensible enough in 
common things, large-hearted women, 
grave judges, shrewd business-men, men 
of science, professing to be in communi- 
cation with the spiritual world and keep- 
ing np constant intercourse with it, with- 
out its gradually reacting on the whole 
conception of that other life. It is the 
folly of the world, constantly, which con- 
founds its wisdom. Not only out of the 
mouths of babes and sucklings, but out 
of the mouths of fools and cheats, we 
may often get our truest lessons. For 
the fool's judgment is a dog-vane that 
turns with a breath, and the cheat watch- 
es the clouds and sets his weathercock by 
them, so that one shall often see by 
their pointing which way the winds of 
heaven are blowing, when the slow-wheel- 
ing arrows and feathers of what we call 
the Temples of Wisdom are turning to all 
points of the compass. 

Amen! said the young fellow 

called John. Ten minutes by the watch. 
Those that are unanimous will please to 
signify by holding up their left foot ! 

I looked this young man steadily in 
the face for about thirty seconds. His 
countenance was as calm as that of a re- 
posing infant. I think it was simplicity, 
rather than mischief, with perhaps a 
youthful playfulness, that led him to this 
outbreak. I have often noticed that even 
quiet horses, on a sharp November morn- 
ing, when their coats are just beginning 
to get the winter roughness, will give lit- 
tle sportive demi-kicks, with slight sud- 
den elevation of the subsequent region 
of the body, and a sharp short whinny, 
by no means intending to put their 
heels through the dasher, or to address 
the driver rudely, but feeling, to use a 
familiar word, frisky. This, I think, is 
the physiological condition of the young 
person, John. I noticed, however, what 
I should call a palpebral spasm, affecting 
the eyelid and muscles of one side, which, 
if it were intended for the facial gesture 
called a wink, might lead me to suspect 
a disposition to be satirical on his part. 

Resuming the conversation, I re- 
marked, I am, ex nfficio, as a Professor, 



18.59.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



91 



a conservative. For I don't know any 
fruit that clings to its tree so faithfully, 
not even a " froze-'n'-thaw " winter-ap- 
ple, as a Professor to the bough of which 
his chair is made. You can't shake him 
off, and it is as much as you can do to 
pull him off. Hence, by a chain of in- 
duction I need not unwind, he tends to 
conservatism generally. 

But then, you know, if you are sailing 
the Atlantic, and all at once find yourself 
in a current and the sea covered with 
weeds, and drop your Fahrenheit over 
the side and find it eight or ten degrees 
higher than in the ocean generally, there 
is no use in flying in the face of facts and 
swearing there is no such thing as a Gulf- 
Stream, when you are in it. 

You can't keep gas in a bladder, and 
you can't keep knowledge tight in a pro- 
fession. Hydrogen will leak out, and air 
will leak in, through India-rubber; and 
special knowledge will leak out, and gen- 
eral knowledge will leak in, though a 
profession were covered with twenty thick- 
nesses of sheepskin diplomas. By Jove, 
Sir, till common sense is well mixed up 
with medicine, and common manhood with 
theology, and common honesty with law, 
We the people, Sir, some of us with nut- 
crackers, and some of us with trip-ham- 
mers, and some of us with pile-drivers, 
and some of us coming with a whish ! like 
air-stones out of a lunar volcano, will 
crash down on the lumps of nonsense in 
all of them till we have made powder of 
them like Aaron's calf! 

If to be a conservative is to let all 
the drains of thought choke up and 
keep all the soul's windows down, to 
shut out the sun from the east and the 
wind from the west, to let the rats run 
free in the cellar, and the moths feed 
their fill in the chambers, and the spiders 
weave their lace before the mirrors, till 
the soul's typhus is bred out of our neg- 
lect, and we begin to snore in its coma 
or rave in its delirium, I, Sir, am a 
bonnet-rouge, a red-cap of the barri- 
cades, my friends, rather than a conser- 
vative. 

Were you born in Boston, Sir ? 



said the little man, looking eager and 
excited. 

I was not, I replied. 

It's a pity, it's a pity, said the little 
man ; it's the place to be born in. But 
if you can't fix it so as to be born here, 
you can come and live here. Old Ben 
Franklin, the father of American science 
and the American Union, wasn't ashamed 
to be born here. Jim Otis, the father of 
American Independence, bothered about 
in the Cape Cod marshes awhile, but he 
came to Boston as soon as he got big 
enough. Joe Warren, the first bloody 
ruffled-shirt of the Revolution, was as 
good as born here. Parson Channing 
strolled along this way from Newport, and 
staid here. Pity old Sam Hopkins hadn't 
come, too ; we'd have made a man of 
him, poor, dear, good old Christian hea- 
then ! There he lies, as peaceful as a 
young baby, in the old burying-ground ! 
I've stood on the slab many a time. Meant 
well, meant well. Juggernaut. Parson 
Channing put a little oil on one linchpin, 
and slipped it out so softly, the first thing 
they knew about it was the wheel of that 
side was down. T'other fellow's at work 
now ; but he makes more noise about it. 
When the linchpin comes out on his side, 
there'll be a jerk, I tell you ! Some 
think it will spoil the old cart, and they 
pretend to say that there are valuable 
things in it which may get hurt. Hope 
not, hope not. But this is the great 
Macadamizing place, always cracking 
up something. 

Cracking up Boston folks, said the 
gentleman with the diamond-pin, whom, 
for convenience' sake, I shall hereafter 
call the Koh-i-noor. 

The little man turned round mechan- 
ically towards him, as Maelzel's Turk 
used to turn, carrying his head slowly 
and horizontally, as if it went by cog- 
wheels. Cracking up all sorts of things, 
native and foreign vermin included, 
said the little man. 

This remark was thought by some of 
us to have a hidden personal application, 
and to afford a fair opening for a lively 
rejoinder, if the Koh-i-noor had been so 



92 



The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



[January, 



disposed. The little man uttered it with 
the distinct wooden calmness with which 
the ingenious Turk used to exclaim, 
E-chec .' so that it must have been heard. 
The party supposed to be interested in the 
remark was, however, carrying a large 
kiiife-bladu-full of something to his mouth 
just then, which, no doubt, interfered 
with the reply he would have made. 

My friend who used to board 

here was accustomed sometimes, in a 
pleasant way, to call himself the Auto- 
crat of the table, meaning, I suppose, 
that he had it all his own way among 
the boarders. I think our small boarder 
here is like to prove a refractory subject, 
if I undertake to use the sceptre my 
friend meant to bequeathe me, too mag- 
isterially. I won't deny that sometimes, 
on rare occasions, when I have been in 
company with gentlemen who preferred 
listening, I have been guilty of the same 
kind of usurpation which my friend open- 
ly justified. But I maintain, that I, the 
Professor, am a good listener. If a man 
can tell me a fact which subtends an ap- 
preciable angle in the horizon of thought, 
I am as receptive as the contribution-box 
in a congregation of colored brethren. 
If, when I am exposing my intellectual 
dry-goods, a man will begin a good story, 
I will have them all in, and my shutters 
up, before he has got to the fifth " says 
he," and listen like a three-years' child, 
as the author of the " Old Sailor " says. 
I had rather hear one of those grand 
elemental laughs from either of our two 
Georges, (fictitious names, Sir or Mad- 
am,) or listen to one of those old playbills 
of our College days, in which " Tom and 
Jerry " (' ; Thomas and Jeremiah," as the 
old Greek Professor was said to call it) 
was announced to be brought on the 
stage with the whole force of the Fac- 
ulty, read by our Frederick, (no such 
person, of course,) than say the best 
things I might by any chance find my- 
self capable of saying. Of course, if 
I come across a real thinker, a sugges- 
tive, acute, illuminating, informing talk- 
er, I enjoy the luxury of sitting still for 
a while as much as another. 



Nobody talks much that doesn't say 
unwise things, things he did not mean 
to say ; as no person plays much without 
striking a false note sometimes. Talk, to 
me, is only spading up the ground for 
crops of thought I can't answer for what 
will turn up. If I could, it wouldn't be 
talking, but "speaking my piece." Bet- 
ter, I think, the hearty abandonment of 
one's self to the suggestions of the mo- 
ment, at the risk of an occasional slip of 
the tongue, perceived the instant it es- 
capes, but just one syllable too late, than 
the royal reputation of never saying a 
foolish thing. 

What shall I do with this little 

man ? There is only one thing to do, 
and that is, to let him talk when he will. 
The day of the " Autocrat's " monologues 
is over. 

My friend, said I to the young 

fellow whom, as I have said, the boarders 
call "John," My friend, I said, one 
morning, after breakfast, can you give 
me any information respecting the de- 
formed person who sits at the other end 
of the table ? 

What ! the Sculpin ? said the young 
fellow. 

The diminutive person, with angular 
curvature of the spine, I said, and 
double talipes varus, I beg your par- 
don, with two club-feet. 

Is that long word what you call it 
when a fellah walks so ? said the young 
man, making his fists revolve round an 
imaginary axis, as you may have seen 
youth of tender age and limited pugilistic 
knowledge, when they show how they 
would punish an adversary, themselves 
protected by this rotating guard, the 
middle knuckle, meantime, thumb-sup- 
ported, fiercely prominent, death-threat- 
ening. 

It is, said I. But would you have the 
kindness to tell me if you know anything 
about this deformed person ? 

About the Sculpin ? said the young 
fellow. 

My good friend, said I, I am sure, 
by your countenance, you would not hurt 
the feelings of one who has been hardly 



1S.VJ.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



enough treated by Nature to be spaml 
by his fellows. Even in speaking of him 
to others, I could wish that you might not 
employ a term which implies contempt 
for what should inspire only pity. 

A fellah's no business to be so 

crooked, said the young man called 
John. 

Yes, yes, I said, thoughtfully, the 
strong hate the weak. It's all right. 
The arrangement has reference to the 
race, and not to the individual. Infirmi- 
ty must be kicked out, or the stock run 
down. Wholesale moral arrangements 
are so different from retail ! I under- 
stand the instinct, my friend, it is cos- 
mic, it is planetary, it is a conserva- 
tive principle in creation. 

The young fellow's face gradually lost 
its expression as I was speaking, until it 
became as blank of vivid significance as 
the countenance of a gingerbread rabbit 
with two currants in the place of eyes. 
He had not taken my meaning. 

Presently the intelligence came back 
with a snap that made him wink, as he 
answered, Jest so. All right. A 1. 
Put her through. That's the way to 
talk. Did you speak to me, Sir ? Here 
the young man struck up that well-known 
song which I think they used to sing at 
Masonic festivals, beginning, " Aldiboron- 
tiphoscophornio, Where left you Chro- 
nonhotonthologos ? " 

I beg your pardon, I said ; all I 
meant was, that men, as temporary oc- 
cupants of a permanent abode called hu- 
man life, which is improved or injured by 
occupancy, according to the style of ten- 
ant, have a natural dislike to those who, 
if they live the life of the race as well as 
of the individual, will leave lasting inju- 
rious effects upon the abode spoken of, 
which is to be occupied by countless fu- 
ture generations. This is the final cause 
of the underlying brute instinct which 
we have in common with the herds. 

The gingerbread-rabbit expres- 
sion was coming on so fast, that I thought 
I must try again. It's a pity that families 
are kept up, where there are such hered- 
itary infirmities. Still, let us treat this 



poor man fairly, and not call him names. 
Do you know what his name is ? 

I know what the rest of 'em call him, 
said the young fellow. They call him 
Little Boston. There's no harm in that, 
is there ? 

It is an honorable term, I replied. 
But why Little Boston, in a place where 
most are Bostonians ? 

Because nobody else is quite so Bos- 
ton all over as he is, said the young 
fellow. 

" L. B. Ob. 1G92." Little Boston let 
him be, when we talk about him. The 
ring he wears labels him well enough. 
There is stuff in the little man, or he 
wouldn't stick so manfully by this crook- 
ed, crotchety old town. Give him a 
chance. You will drop the Sculpin, 
won't you ? I said to the young fellow. 

Drop him ? he answered, I ha'n't 
took him up yet. 

No, no, the term, I said, the term. 
Don't call him so any more, if you please. 
Call him Little Boston, if you like. 

All right, said the young fellow. I 
wouldn't be hard on the poor little 

The word he used was objectionable 
in point of significance and of grammar. 
It was a frequent termination of certain 
adjectives among the Romans, as of those 
designating a person following the sea, or 
given to rural pursuits. It is classed by 
custom among the profane words ; why, it 
is hard to say, but it is largely used in 
the street by those who speak of their 
fellows in pity or in wrath. 

I never heard the young fellow apply 
the name of the odious pretended fish to 
the little man from that day forward. 

Here we are, then, at our board- 
ing-house. First, myself, the Professor, a 
little way from the head of the table, on 
the right, looking down, where the Auto- 
crat used to sit. At the further end sits 
the Landlady. At the head of the table, 
just now, the Koh-i-noor, or the gentle- 
man with the diamond. Opposite me is 
a Venerable Gentleman with a bland 
countenance, who as yet has spoken lit- 
tle. The Divinity-Student is my neigh- 
bor on the right, and further down, that 



The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



[January, 



Young Fellow of whom I have repeat- 
edly spoken. The Landlady's Daughter 
sits near the Koh-i-noor, as I said. The 
Poor Relation near the Landlady. At 
the right upper corner is a fresh-looking 
youth of whose name and history I have 
as yet learned nothing. Next the fur- 
ther left-hand corner, looking down the 
table, sits the deformed person. The 
chair at his side, occupying that corner, 
is empty. I need not specially mention 
the other boarders, with the exception of 
Benjamin Franklin, the landlady's son, 
who sits near his mother. We are a tol- 
erably assorted set, difference enough 
and likeness enough; but still it seems to 
me there is something wanting. The 
Landlady's Daughter is the prima donna 
in the way of feminine attractions. I am 
not quite satisfied with this young lady. 
She wears more "jewelry," as certain 
young ladies call their trinkets, than I 
care to see on a person in her position. 
Her voice is strident, her laugh too much 
like a giggle, and she has that foolish way 
of dancing and bobbing like a quill-float 
with a " minnum " biting the hook below 
it, which one sees and weeps over some- 
times in persons of more pretensions. I 
can't help hoping we shall put something 
into that empty chair yet which will add 
the missing string to our social harp. I 
hear talk of a rare Miss who is expected. 
Something in the school-girl way, I be- 
lieve. We shall see. 

My friend who calls himself The 

Autocrat has given me a caution which I 
am going to repeat, with my comment 
upon it, for the benefit of all concerned. 

Professor, said he, one day, don't 
you think your brain will run dry before 
a year's out, if you don't get the pump to 
help the cow ? Let me tell you what 
happened to me once. I put a little 
money into a bank, and bought a check- 
book, so that I might draw it as I wanted, 
in sums to suit. Things went on nicely 
for a time ; scratching with a pen was as 
easy as rubbing Aladdin's Lamp ; and my 
blank check-book seemed to be a diction- 
ary of possibilities, in which I could find 



all the synonymes of happiness, and real- 
ize any one of them on the spot. A 
check came back to me at last with these 
two words on it, No funds. My check- 
book was a volume of waste-paper. 

Now, Professor, said he, I have 
drawn something out of your bank, you 
know ; and just so sure as you keep draw- 
ing out your soul's currency without mak- 
ing new deposits, the next thing will be, 
No funds, and then where will you be, 
my boy ? These little bits of paper mean 
your gold and your silver and your cop- 
per, Professor; and you will certainly 
break up and go to pieces, if you don't 
hold on to your metallic basis. 

There is something in that, said I. 
Only I rather think life can coin thought 
somewhat faster than I can count it off in 
words. What if one shall go round and 
dry up with soft napkins all the dew 
that falls of a June evening on the leaves 
of his garden ? Shall there be no more 
dew on those leaves thereafter ? Marry, 
yea, many drops, large and round and 
full of moonlight as those thou shalt have 
absterged ! ' 

Here am I, the Professor, a man who 
has lived long enough to have plucked 
the flowers of life and come to the berries, 
which are not always sad-colored, but 
sometimes golden-lmed as the crocus of 
April, or rosy-cheeked as the damask of 
June ; a man who staggered against books 
as a baby, and will totter against them, 
if he lives to decrepitude ; with a brain 
as full of tingling thoughts, such as they 
are, as a limb which we call " asleep," 
because it is so particularly awake, is of 
pricking points ; presenting a key-board 
of nerve-pulps, not as yet tanned or ossi- 
fied, to the finger-touch of all outward 
agencies ; knowing something of the filmy 
threads of this web of life in which we 
insects buzz awhile, waiting for the gray 
old spider to come along ; contented 
enough with daily realities, but twirling 
on his finger the key of a private Bed- 
lam of ideals ; in knowledge feeding with 
the fox oftener than with the stork, 
loving better the breadth of a fertilizing 
inundation than the depth of a narrow 



1859.] 



The, Professor at the Breakfast-Table. 



95 



artesian well ; finding nothing too small 
for his contemplation in the markings of 
the yramrnatoj>hora subtilissima, and noth- 
ing too large in the movement of the solar 
system towards the star Lambda of the 
constellation Hercules ; and the ques- 
tion is, whether there is anything left for 
me, the Professor, to suck out of creation, 
alter my lively friend has had his straw 
in the bunghole of the Universe ! 

A man's mental reactions with the 
atmosphere of life must go on, whether 
he will or no, as between his blood and 
the air he breathes. As to catching the 
residuum of the process, or what we call 
thought, the gaseous ashes of burned- 
out thinking, the excretion of mental 
respiration, that will depend on many 
things, as, on having a favorable intel- 
lectual temperature about one, and a fit- 
ting receptacle. I sow more thought- 
seeds in twenty-four hours' travel over 
the desert-sand, along which my lonely 
consciousness paces day and night, than 
1 shall throw into soil where it will ger- 
minate, in a year. All sorts of bodily 
and mental perturbations come between 
us and the due projection of our thought. 
The pulse-like " fits of easy and difficult 
transmission " seem to reach even" the 
transparent medium through which our 
souls are seen. We know our human- 
ity by its often intercepted rays, as we 
tell a revolving light from a star or me- 
teor by its constantly recurring obscura- 
tion. 

An illustrious scholar once told me, 
that, in the first lecture he ever deliv- 
ered, he spoke but half his allotted time, 
and felt as if he had told all he knew. 
Braham came forward once to sing one 
of his most famous and familiar songs, 
and for his life could not recall the first 
line of it ; he told his mishap to the 
audience, and they screamed it at him 
in a chorus of a thousand voices. Milton 
could not write to suit himself, except 
from the autumnal to the vernal equinox. 
One in the clothing-business, who, there 
is reason to suspect, may have inherited, 
by descent, the great poet's impressible 
temperament, let a customer slip through 



his fingers one day without fitting him 
with a new garment. " Ah ! " said he to 
a friend of mine, who was standing by, 
" if it hadn't been for that confound- 
ed headache of mine this morning, I'd 
have had a coat on that man, in spite 
of himself, before he left the store." A 
passing throb, only, but it deranged the 
nice mechanism required to persuade the 
accidental human being, x, into a given 
piece of broadcloth, a. 

We must take care not to confound 
this frequent difficulty of transmission 
of our ideas with want of ideas. I sup- 
pose that a man's mind does in time form 
a neutral salt with the elements in the 
universe for which it has special elective 
affinities. In fact, I look upon a library 
as a kind of mental chemist's shop, filled 
with the crystals of all forms and hues 
which have come from the union of in- 
dividual thought with local circumstances 
or universal principles. 

When a man has worked out his spe- 
cial affinities in this way, there is an end 
of his genius as a real solvent. No more 
effervescence and hissing tumult as he 
pours his sharp thought on the world's bit- 
ing alkaline unbeliefs ! No more corrosion 
of the old monumental tablets covered 
with lies ! No more taking up of dull 
earths, and turning them, first into clear 
solutions, and then into lustrous prisms ! 

I, the Professor, am very much like 
other men. I shall not find out when I 
have used up my affinities. What a 
blessed thing it is, that Nature, when she 
invented, manufactured, and patented her 
authors, contrived to make critics out of 
the chips that were left ! Painful as the 
task is, they never fail to warn the author, 
in the most impressive manner, of the 
probabilities of failure in what he has 
undertaken. Sad as the necessity is to 
their delicate sensibilities, they m-vrr 
hesitate to advertise him of the decline 
of his powers, and to press upon him the 
propriety of retiring before he sinks into 
imbecility. Trusting to their kind offices, 
I shall endeavor to fulfil 

JJritlget enters and begins clearing the 
table. 



9G 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[January, 



The following poem is my (the Profes- Pretermit thy whittling, wheel thine ear-flap 

sor's) only contribution to the great de- toward me, 

. , ,.. I bou shalt hear them answered, 

partment of Ocean-Cable literature. As 

all the poets of this country will be en- When the charge galvanic tingled through the 
gaged for the next six weeks in -writing cable, 

for the premium offered by the Crystal- At the polar focus of the wire electric 

Palace Company for the Burns Cente- Suddenly appeared a white-faced man among 
nary, (so called, according to our Benja- 
min Franklin, because there will be na'ry 

a cent for any of us,) poetry will be very As the smal | opossum held in pouch maternal 

scarce and dear. Consumers may, con- Grasps the nutrient organ whence the term 
sequently, be glad to take the present mammalia, 

article, which, by the aid of a Latin tutor So the unknown stranger held the wire elec- 
and a Professor of Chemistry, will be 
found intelligible to the educated classes. 



Called himself " DE SAUTY.' 



DE SAUTY. 

AN ELECTRO-CHEMICAL ECLOGUE. 

Professor. Blue-Nose. 

PROFESSOR. 

TELL me, Provincial! speak, Ceruleo- 

Nasal! 
Lives there one De Sauty extant now among 

you, 

Whispering Boanerges, son of silent thunder, 
Holding talk with nations ? 

Is there a De Sauty ambulant on Tellus, 
Bifid-cleft like mortals, dormient in night- 
cap,. 
Having sight, smell, hearing, food-receiving 

feature 
Three times daily patent? 

Breathes there such a being, Ceruleo- 
Nasal? 

Or is he &mythus, ancient word for "hum- 
bug," 



trie, 
Sucking in the current. 

When the current strengthened, bloomed the 

pale-faced stranger, 
Took no drink nor victual, yet grew fat and 

rosy, 

And from time to time, in sharp articulation, 
Said, "All right ! DE SAUTY." 

From the lonely station passed the utterance, 
spreadirig 

Through the pines and hemlocks to the groves 
of steeples, 

Till the land was filled with loud reverbera- 
tions 
Of "All right ! DE SAUTY." 

When the current slackened, drooped the mys- 
tic stranger, 

Faded, faded, faded, as the shocks grew weak- 
er, 

Wasted to n shadow, with a hartshorn odor 
Of disintegration. 

Drops of deliquescence glistened on his fore- 
head, 

WTiitened round his feet the dust of efflores- 
cence. 



Such as Livy told about the wolf that wet- Till one Monday morning, when the flow s 



nursed 
Romulus and Remus ? 

Was he born of woman, this alleged De 

Sauty? 

Or a living product of galvanic action, 
Like the acarus bred in Crosse's flint-solu- 
tion? 
Speak, thou Cyano-Rhinal! 

BLUE-NOSE. 

Many things thou askest, jackknife-bearing 

stranger, 
Much-conjecturing mortal, pork-and-treacle- 

waster ! 



pended, 
There was no De Sauty. 

Nothing but a cloud of elements organic, 
C. 0. H. N. Ferrum, Chor. Flu. Sil. Potassa, 
Calc. Sod. Phosph. Mag. Sulphur, Mang. ( ?) 

Alumin. ( ?) Cuprum, ( ?) 
Such as man is made of. 

Born of stream galvanic, with it he had per- 
ished ! 

There is no De Sauty now there is no current ! 
Give us a new cable, then again we'll hear 

him 
Cry, "All right! DE SAUTY." 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



97 



THE MINISTER'S WOOING. 



[Continued.] 



CHAPTER IV. 
THEOLOGICAL TEA. 

AT the call of her mother, Mary hur- 
ried into the " best room," with a strange 
discomposure of spirit she had never felt 
before. From childhood, her love for 
James had been so deep, equable, and 
intense, that it had never disturbed her 
with thrills and yearnings ; it had grown 
up in sisterly calmness, and, quietly ex- 
panding, had taken possession of her 
whole nature, without her once dreaming 
of its power. But this last interview 
seemed to have struck some great nerve of 
her being, and calm as she usually was, 
from habit, principle, and good health, she 
shivered and trembled, as she heard his 
retreating footsteps, and saw the orchard- 
grass fly back from under his feet. It 
was as if eaoh step trod on a nerve, as if 
the very sound of the rustling grass was 
stirring something living and sensitive in 
her soul. And, strangest of all, a vague 
impression of guilt hovered over her. Had 
she done anything wrong ? She did not 
ask him there ; she had not spoken love 
to him ; no, she had only talked to him 
of his soul, and how she would give hers 
for his, oh, so willing!}' ! and that was 
not love ; it was only what Dr. II. said 
Christians must always feel. 

" Child, what have you been doing ? " 
said Aunt Katy, who sat in full flowing 
chintz petticoat and spotless dimity short- 
gown, with her company knitting-work in 
her hands ; " your cheeks are as red as 
peonies. Have you been crying V What's 
the matter V " 

" There is the Deacon's wife, mother," 
said Mary, turning confusedly, and dart- 
ing to the entry-door. 

Enter Mrs. Twitchel, a soft, pillowy 
little elderly lady, whose whole air and 
dress reminded one of a sack of feath- 

VOL. III. 7 



ers tied in the middle with a string. A 
large, comfortable pocket, hung upon the 
side, disclosed her knitting-work ready 
for operation ; and she zealously cleansed 
herself with a checked handkerchief from 
the dust which had accumulated during 
her ride in the old " one-hoss shay," an- 
swering the hospitable salutation of Katy 
Scudder in that plaintive, motherly voice 
which belongs to certain nice old ladies, 
who appear to live in a state of mild 
chronic compassion for the skis and sor- 
rows of this mortal life generally. 

" Why, yes, Miss Scudder, I'm prettj 
tol'able. I keep goin', and goin'. That's 
my way. I's a-tellin' the Deacon, this 
mornin', I didn't see how I was to come 
here this afternoon ; but then I did want 
to see Miss Scudder and talk a little 
about that precious sennon, Sunday. 
How is the Doctor ? blessed man ! Well, 
his reward must be great in heaven, if 
not on earth, as I was a-tellin 1 the Dea- 
con ; and he says to me, says he, ' Polly, 
we mustn't be man-worshippers.' There, 
dear," (to Mary,) " don't trouble yourself 
about my bonnet ; it a'n't my Sunday 
one, but I thought 'twould do. Says I to 
Cerinthy Ann, ' Miss Scudder won't mind, 
'cause her heart's set on better things.' 
I always like to drop a word in season to 
Cerinthy Ann, 'cause she's clean took up 
with vanity and dress. Oh, dear ! oh, dear 
me ! so different from your blessed daugh- 
ter, Miss Scudder ! Well, it's a great bless- 
in' to be called in one's youth, like Samuel 
and Timothy ; but then we doesn't know 
the Lord's ways. Sometimes I gets clean 
discourauvd with my children, but then 
ag'in I don't know ; none on us does. 
Cerinthy Ann is one of the most master 
hands to turn off work ; she takes hold 
and goes along like a woman, and no- 
body never knows when that gal finds 
the time to do all she docs do ; and I 



98 



The Ministers Wooing. 



[January, 



don't know nothin' what I should do with- 
out her. Deacon was saying, if ever she 
was called, she'd be a Martha, and not a 
Mary ; but then she's dreadful opposed 
to the doctrines. Oh, dear me ! oh, dear 
me ! Somehow they seem to rile her all 
up ; and she was a-tellin' me yesterday, 
when she was a-hangin* out clothes, that 
she never should get reconciled to De- 
crees and 'Lection, 'cause she can't see, if 
things is certain, how folks is to help 'em- 
selves. Says I, ' Cerinthy Ann, folks a'n't 
to help 'emselves ; they's to submit un- 
conditional.' And she jest slammed down 
the clothes-basket and went into the 
house." 

When Mrs. Twitchel began to talk, it 
flowed a steady stream, as when one turns 
a faucet, that never ceases running till 
some hand turns it back again ; and the 
occasion that cut the flood short at pres- 
ent was the entrance of Mrs. Brown. 

Mr. Simeon Brown was a thriving ship- 
owner of Newport, who lived in a large 
house, owned several negro-servants and 
a span of horses, and affected some state 
and style in his worldly appearance. A 
passion for metaphysical Orthodoxy had 
drawn Simeon to the congregation of Dr. 
H., and his wife of course stood by right 
in a high place there. She was a tall, 
angular, somewhat hard-favored body, 
dressed in a style rather above the simple 
habits of her neighbors, and her whole 
air spoke the great woman, who in right 
of her thousands expected to have her 
say in all that was going on in the world, 
whether she understood it or not. 

On her entrance, mild little Mrs. 
Twitchel fled from the cushioned rock- 
ing-chair, and stood with the quivering 
air of one who feels she has no business 
to be anywhere in the world, until Mrs. 
Brown's bonnet was taken and she was 
seated, when Mrs. Twitchel subsided into 
a corner and rattled her knitting-needles 
to conceal her emotion. 

New England has been called the land 
of equality ; but what land upon earth is 
wholly so ? Even the mites in a bit of 
cheese, naturalists say, have great tum- 
tblings and strivings about position and 



rank ; he who has ten pounds will al- 
ways be a nobleman to him who has 
but one, let him strive as manfully as he 
may ; and therefore let us forgive meek 
little Mrs. Twitchel for melting into noth- 
ing in her own eyes when Mrs. Brown 
came in, and let us forgive Mrs. Brown 
that she sat down in the rocking-chair 
with an easy grandeur, as one who thought 
it her duty to be affable and meant to be. 
It was, however, rather difficult for Mrs. 
Brown, with her money, house, negroes, 
and all, to patronize Mrs. Katy Scudder, 
who was one of those women whose na- 
tures seem to sit on thrones, and who 
dispense patronage and favor by an in- 
born right and aptitude^ whatever be 
their social advantages. It was one of 
Mrs. Brown's trials of life, this secret, 
strange, quality in her neighbor, who 
stood apparently so far below her in 
worldly goods. Even the quiet, positive 
style of Mrs. Katy's knitting made her 
nervous ; it was an implication of inde- 
pendence of her sway ; and though on 
the present occasion every customary 
courtesy was bestowed, she still felt, as 
she always did when Mrs. Katy's guest, 
a secret uneasiness. She mentally con- 
trasted the neat little parlor, with its 
white sanded floor and muslin curtains, 
with her own grand front-room, which 
boasted the then uncommon luxuries of 
Turkey carpet and Persian rug, and 
wondered if Mrs. Katy did really feel 
as cool and easy in receiving her as she 
appeared. 

You must not understand that this was 
what Mrs. Brown supposed herself to be 
thinking about ; oh, no ! by no means ! 
All the little, mean work of our nature 
is generally done in a small dark closet 
just a little back of the subject we are 
talking about, on which subject we sup- 
pose ourselves of course to be thinking ; 
of course we are thinking of it ; how else 
could we talk about it ? 

The subject in discussion, and what 
Mrs. Brown supposed to be in her own 
thoughts, was the last Sunday's sermon 
on the doctrine of entire Disinterested 
Benevolence, in which good Doctor H. 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing, 



99 



had proclaimed to the citizens of New- 
port their duty of being so wholly ab- 
sorbed in the general good of the universe 
as even to acquiesce in their own final 
and eternal destruction, if the greater 
good of the whole might thereby be ac- 
complished. 

" Well, now, dear me ! " said Mrs. 
Twitchel, while her knitting-needles trot- 
ted contentedly to the mournful tone of 
her voice, " I was tellin' the Deacon, if 
we only could get there ! Sometimes I 
think I get a little way, but then ag'in 
I don't know ; but the Deacon he's quite 
down, he don't see no evidences in him- 
self. Sometimes he says he don't feel as 
if he ought to keep his place in the 
church, but then ag'in he don't know. 
He keeps a-turnin' and turnin' on't over 
in his mind, and a-tryin' himself- this way 
and that way ; and he says he don't see 
nothin' but what's selfish, no way. 

" 'Member one night last winter, after 
the Deacon got warm in bed, there come 
a rap at the door ; and who should it be 
but old Beulah Ward, wantin' to see the 
Deacon ? 'twas her boy she sent, and he 
said Beulah was sick and hadn't no more 
wood nor candles. Now I know'd the 
Deacon had carried that crittur half a 
cord of wood, if he had one stick, since 
Thanksgivin', and I'd sent her two o' my 
best moulds of candles, nice ones that 
Cerinthy Ann run when we killed a crit- 
tur ; but nothin' would do but the Deacon 
must get right out his warm bed and 
dress himself, and hitch up his team to 
carry over some wood to Beulah. Says 
I, ' Father, you know you'll be down with 
the rheumatis for this ; besides, Beulah is 
real aggravatin'. I know she trades off 
what we send her to the store for rum, 
and you never get no thanks. She 'xpects, 
'cause we has done for her, we always 
must ; and more we do, more we may do.' 
And says he to me, says he, ' That's jest 
the way we sarves the Lord, Polly ; and 
what if He shouldn't hear us when we 
call on Him in our troubles ? ' So I shet 
up ; and the next day he was down with 
the rheumatis. And Cerinthy Ann, says 
she, ' Well, father, now I hope you'll own 



you have got some disinterested benevo- 
lence,' says she ; and the Deacon he 
thought it over a spell, and then he says, 
' I'm 'fraid it's all selfish. I'm jest a-m;ik- 
in' a righteousness of it' And Cerinthy 
Ann she come out, declarin' that the 
best folks never had no comfort in relig- 
ion ; and for her part she didn't mean to 
trouble her head about it, but have jest 
as good a time as she could while she's 
young, 'cause if she was 'lected to be 
saved she should be, and if she wa'n't she 
couldn't help it, any how." 

" Mr. Brown says he came onto Dr. 
H.'s ground years ago," said Mrs. Brown, 
giving a nervous twitch to her yarn, and 
speaking in a sharp, hard, didactic voice, 
which made little Mrs. Twitchel give a 
gentle quiver, and look humble and apol- 
ogetic. " Mr. Brown's a master think- 
er ; there's nothing pleases that man bet- 
ter than a hard doctrine; he says you 
can't get 'em too hard for him. He don't 
find any difficulty in bringing his mind 
up ; he just reasons it out all plain ; and 
he says, people have no need to be in the 
dark ; and that's my opinion. ' If folks 
know they ought to come up to anything, 
why don't they V ' he says ; and I say so 
too." 

" Mr. Scudder used to say that it took 
great afflictions to bring his mind to that 
place," said Mrs. Katy. " He used to say 
that an old paper-maker told him once, 
that paper that was shaken only one way 
in the making would tear across the other, 
and the best paper had to be shaken 
every way ; and so he said we couldn't 
tell, till we had been turned and shaken 
and tried every way, where we should 
tear." 

Mrs. Twitchel responded to this senti- 
ment with a gentle series of groans, such 
as were her general expression of appro- 
bation, swaying herself backward and 
forward ; while Mrs. Brown gave a sort 
of toss and snort, and said that for her 
part she always thought people km-w 
what they did know, but she guessed 
she was mistaken. 

The conversation was here interrupted 
by the civilities attendant on the rect-p- 



100 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



tion of Mrs. Jones, a broad, buxom, 
hearty soul, who had come on horseback 
from a farm about three miles distant. 

Smiling with rosy content, she present- 
ed Mrs. Katy a small pot of golden but- 
ter, the result of her forenoon's churn- 
ing. 

There are some people so evidently 
broadly and heartily of this world, that 
their coming into a room always material- 
izes the conversation. We wish to be 
understood that we mean no disparaging 
reflection on such persons ; they are as 
necessary to make up a world as cab- 
bages to make up a garden ; the great 
healthy principles of cheerfulness and 
animal life seein to exist in them in the 
gross ; they are wedges and ingots of 
solid, contented vitality. Certain kinds 
of virtues and Christian graces thrive in 
such people as the first crop of corn does 
in the bottom-lands of the Ohio. Mrs. 
Jones was a church-member, a regular 
church-goer, and planted her comely per- 
son plump in front of Dr. H. every Sun- 
day, and listened to his searching and dis- 
criminating sermons with broad, honest 
smiles of satisfaction. Those keen distinc- 
tions as to motives, those awful warnings 
and urgent expostulations, which made 
poor Deacon Twitchel weep, she listened 
to with great, round, satisfied eyes, mak- 
ing to all, and after all, the same remark, 
that it was good, and she liked it, and 
the Doctor was a good man ; and on the 
present occasion, she announced her pot 
of butter as one fruit of her reflections 
after the last discourse. 

" You see," she said, " as I was a-set- 
tin' in the spring-house, this mornin', a- 
workin' my butter, I says to Dinah, 
4 I'm goin' to carry a pot of this down to 
Miss Seudder for the Doctor, I got so 
much good out of his Sunday's sermon. 
And Dinah she says to me, says she, 
' Laws, Miss Jones, I thought you was 
asleep, for sartin ! ' But I wasn't ; only I 
forgot to take any caraway-seed in the 
mornin', and so I kinder missed it ; you 
know it 'livens one up. But I never lost 
myself so but what I kinder heerd him 
gpin' on, on, sort o' like, and it sound- 



ed all sort o' good ; and so I thought of 
the Doctor to-day." 

" Well, I'm sure," said Aunt Katy, 
" this will be a treat ; we all know about 
your butter, Mrs. Jones. I sha'n't think 
of putting any of mine on table to-night, 
I'm sure." 

" Law, now don't ! " said Mrs. Jones. 
" Why, you re'lly make me ashamed, Miss 
Seudder. To be sure, folks does like our 
butter, and it always fetches a pretty 
good price, he's very proud on't. I tell 
him he oughtn't to be, we oughtn't to bo 
proud of anything." 

And now Mrs. Katy, giving a look 
at the old clock, told Mary it was time 
to set the tea-table ; and forthwith there 
was a gentle movement of expectancy. 
The little mahogany tea-table opened its 
brown wings, and from a drawer came 
forth the snowy damask covering. It was 
etiquette, on such occasions, to compli- 
ment every article of the establishment 
successively, as it appeared ; so the Dea- 
con's wife began at the table-cloth. 

" Well, I do declare, Miss Seudder 
beats us all in her table-cloths," she said, 
taking up a corner of the damask, ad- 
miringly ; and Mrs. Jones forthwith jump- 
ed up and seized the other corner. 

" Why, this 'ere must have come from 
the Old Country. It's 'most the beauti- 
flest thing I ever did see." 

" It's my own spinning," replied Mrs. 
Katy, with conscious dignity. " There 
was an Irish weaver came to Newport 
the year before I was married, who wove 
beautifully, just the Old-Country pat- 
terns, and I'd been spinning some un- 
commonly fine flax then. I remember Mr. 
Seudder used to read to me while I was 
spinning," and Aunt Katy looked afar, 
as one whose thoughts are in the past, 
and dropped out the last words with a 
little sigh, unconsciously, as to herself. 

" Well, now, I must say," said Mrs. 
Jones, " this goes quite beyond me. I 
thought I could spin some ; but I sha'n't 
never dare to show mine." 

" I'm sure, Mrs. Jones, your towels 
that you had out bleaching, this spring, 
were wonderful," said Aunt Katy. " But 



1859.] 



The Ministers Wooing. 



101 



I don't pretend to do much now," she 
continued, straightening her trim figure. 
" I'm getting old, you know ; we must let 
the young folks take up these things. 
Mary spins better now than I ever did. 
Mary, hand out those napkins." 

And so Mary's napkins passed from 
hand to hand. 

" Well, well," said Mrs. Twitchel to 
Mary, " it's easy to see that your linen- 
chest will be pretty full by the time he 
comes along ; won't it, Miss Jones ? " 
and Mrs. Twitchel looked pleasantly fa- 
cetious, as elderly ladies generally do, 
when suggesting such possibilities to 
younger ones. 

Mary was vexed to feel the blood boil 

9 

up in her cheeks in a most unexpected 
and provoking way at the suggestion ; 
whereat Mrs. Twitchel nodded knowing- 
ly at Mrs. Jones, and whispered some- 
thing in a mysterious aside, to which 
plump Mrs. Jones answered, " Why, do 
tell ! now I never ! " 

" It's strange," said Mrs. Twitchel, tak- 
ing up her parable again, in such a plain- 
tive tone that all knew something pathet- 
ic was coming, " what mistakes some folks 
will make, a-f'etchin' up girls. Now there's 
your Mary, Miss Scudder, why, there 
a'n't nothiu' she can't do; but law, I was 
down to Miss Skinner's, last week, a- 
watchin' with her, and re'lly it 'most 
broke my heart to see her. Her mother 
was a most amazin' smart woman ; but 
she brought Suky up, for all the world, as 
if she'd been a wax doll, to be kept in 
the drawer, and sure enough, she was a 
pretty cretur, and now she's married, 
what is she ? She ha'n't no more idee 
how to take hold than nothiu'. The poor 
child means well enough, and she works 
so hard she most kills herself; but then 
she is in the suds from mornin' till night, 
she's one the sort whose work's never 
done, and poor George Skinner's clean 
discouraged." 

" There's everything in knowing how" 
said Mrs. Katy. " Nobody ought to be 
always working ; it's a bad sign. I tell 
Mary, ' Always do up your work in the 
forenoon.' Girls must learn that. I 



never work afternoons, after my dinner- 
dishes are got away ; I never did and 
never would." 

" Nor I, neither," chimed in Mrs. Jones 
and Mrs. Twitchel, both anxious to 
show themselves clear on this leading 
point of New England house-keeping. 

" There's another thing I always tell 
Mary," said Mrs. Katy, impressively. 
" ' Never say there isn't time for a thing 
tint ought to be done. If a thing is ne- 
ce.s.vrtry, why, life is long enough to find a 
place for it. That's my doctrine. When 
anybody tells me they can't find time for 
this or that, I don't think much of 'em. 
I think they don't know how to work, 
that's all.' " 

Here Mrs. Twitchel looked up from 
her knitting, with an apologetic giggle, at 
Mrs. Brown. 

" Law, now, there's Miss Brown, she 
don't know nothin' about it, 'cause she's 
got her servants to every turn. I s'pose 
she thinks it queer to hear us talkin' 
about our work. Miss Brown must have 
her time all to herself. I was tellin' the 
Deacon the other day that she was a 
privileged woman." 

" I'm sure, those that have servants 
find work enough following 'em 'round," 
said Mrs. Brown, who, like all other hu- 
man beings, resented the implication of 
not having as many trials in life as her 
neighbors. " As to getting the work done 
up in the forenoon, that's a thing I never 
can teach 'em ; they'd rather not Chloe 
likes to keep her work 'round, and do it 
by snacks, any time, day or night, when 
the notion takes her." 

"And it was just for that reason I 
never would have one of those creatures 
'round," said Mi-s. Katy. " Mr. Scudder 
was principled against buying negroes, 
but if he had not been, I should not have 
wanted any of their work. I know what's 
to be done, and most help is no help to 
me. I want people to stand out of my 
way and let me get done. I've tried 
keeping a girl once or twice, and I never 
worked so hard in my life. Wlu-n Mary 
and I do all ourselves, we can calculate 
everything to a minute ; and we get our 



102 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



time to sew and read and spin and visit, 
and live just as we want to." 

Here, again, Mrs. Brown looked un- 
easy. To what use was it that she was 
rich and owned servants, when this Mor- 
decai in her gate utterly despised her 
prosperity ? In her secret heart she 
thought Mrs. Katy must be envious, and 
rather comforted herself on this view of 
the subject, sweetly unconscious of any 
inconsistency in the feeling with her 
views of utter self-abnegation just an- 
nounced. 

Meanwhile the tea-table had been 
silently gathering on its snowy plateau 
the delicate china, the golden butter, the 
loaf of faultless cake, a plate of crullers 
or wonders, as a sort of sweet fried cake 
was commonly called, tea-rusks, light 
as a puff, and shining on top with a var- 
nish of egg, jellies of apple and quince 
quivering in amber clearness, whitest 
and purest honey in the comb, in short, 
everything that could go to the getting- 
up of a most faultless tea. 

" I don't see," said Mrs. Jones, resum- 
ing the gentle paeans of the occasion, 
" how Miss Scudder's loaf-cake always 
comes out jest so. It don't rise neither 
to one side nor t'other, but jest even all 
'round ; and it a'n't white one side and 
burnt the other, but jest a good brown 
all over; and it don't have no heavy 
streak in it." 

" Jest what Cerinthy Ann was sayin', 
the other day," said Mrs. Twitchel. " She 
says she can't never be sure how hers is 
a-comin' out. Do what she can, it will 
be either too much or too little ; but Miss 
Scudder's is always jest so. ' Law,' says 
I, ' Cerinthy Ann, it's faculty, that's it ; 
them that has it has it, and them that 
hasn't why, they've got to work hard, 
and not do half so well, neither.' " 

Mrs. Katy took all these praises as 
matter of course. Since she was thir- 
teen years old, she had never put her 
hand to anything that she had not been 
held to do better than other folks, and 
therefore she accepted her praises with 
the quiet repose and serenity of assured 
reputation ; though, of course, she used 



the usual polite disclaimers of " Oh, it's 
nothing, nothing at all ; I'm sure I don't 
know how I do it, and was not aware it 
was so good," and so on. All which 
things are proper for gentlewomen to ob- 
serve in like cases, in every walk of life. 

" Do you think the Deacon will be 
along soon ? " said Mrs. Katy, when 
Mary, returning from the kitchen, an- 
nounced the important fact, that the tea- 
kettle was boiling. 

" Why, yes," said Mrs. Twitchel. " I'm 
a-lookin' for him every minute. He told 
me, that he and the men should be plant- 
in' up to the eight-acre lot, but he'd keep 
the colt up there to come down on ; and 
so I laid him out a clean shirt, and says, 
' Now, Father, you be sure and be there 
by five, so that Miss Scudder may know 
when to put her tea a-drawin'.' There 
he is, I believe," she added, as a horse's 
tramp Avas heard without, and, after a few 
moments, the desired Deacon entered. 

He was a gentle, soft-spoken man, low, 
sinewy, thin, with black hair showing 
lines and patches of silver. His keen, 
thoughtful, dark eye marked the nervous 
and melancholic temperament. A mild 
and pensive humility of manner seemed 
to brood over him, like the shadow of a 
cloud. Everything in his dress, air, and 
motions indicated punctilious exactness 
and accuracy, at times rising to the point 
of nervous anxiety. 

Immediately after the bustle of his en- 
trance had subsided, Mr. Simeon Brown 
followed. He was a tall, lank individual, 
with high cheek-bones, thin, sharp fea- 
tures, small, keen, hard eyes, and large 
hands and feet 

Simeon was, as we have before re- 
marked, a keen theologian, and had the 
scent of a hound for a metaphysical dis- 
tinction. True, he was a man of business, 
being a thriving trader to the coast of 
Africa, whence he imported negroes for 
the American market; and no man was 
held to understand that branch of traffic 
better, he having, in his earlier days, 
commanded ships in the business, and 
thus learned it from the root In his 
private life, Simeon was severe and die- 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



103 



tatorial. He was one of that class of peo- 
ple who, of a freezing clay, will plant 
themselves directly between you and the 
fire, and there stand and argue to prove 
that selfishness is the root of all moral 
evil. Simeon said he always had thought 
so ; and his neighbors sometimes supposed 
that nobody could enjoy better experi- 
mental advantages for understanding the 
subject. He was one of those men who 
suppose themselves submissive to the Di- 
vine will, to the uttermost extent de- 
manded by the extreme theology of that 
day, simply because they have no nerves 
to feel, no imagination to conceive what 
endless happiness or suffering is, and who 
deal therefore with the great question of 
the salvation or damnation of myriads 
as a problem of theological algebra, to 
be worked out by their inevitable x, y, z. 

But we must not spend too much time 
with our analysis of character, for matters 
at the tea-table are drawing to a crisis. 
Mrs. Jones has announced that she does 
not think " he " can come this afternoon, 
by which significant mode of expression 
she conveyed the dutiful idea that there 
was lor her but one male person in the 
world. And now Mrs. Katy says, " Mary, 
dear, knock at the Doctor's door and tell 
him that tea is ready." 

The Doctor was sitting in his shady 
study, in the room on the other side of 
the little entry. The windows were dark 
and fragrant with the shade and perfume 
of blossoming lilacs, whose tremulous 
shadow, mingled with spots of afternoon 
sunlight, danced on the scattered papers 
of a great writing-table covered with 
pamphlets and heavily-bound volumes 
of theology, where the Doctor was sit- 
ting. 

A man of gigantic proportions, over 
six feet in height, and built every way 
with an amplitude corresponding to his 
hfitrlit, sitting bent over his writing, so 
absorbed that he did not hear the gentle 
sound of Mary's entrance. 

" Doctor," said the maiden, gently, 
"tea is ready." 

No motion, no sound, except the quick 
racing of the pen over the paper. 



" Doctor ! Doctor ! " a little louder, 
and with another step into the apartment, 
" tea is ready." 

The Doctor stretched his head forward 
to a paper which lay before him, and re- 
sponded in a low, murmuring voice, as 
reading something. 

" Firstly, if underived virtue be pe- 
culiar to the Deity, can it be the duty of 
a creature to have it ? " 

Here a little waxen hand came with a 
very gentle tap on his huge shoulder, and 
" Doctor, tea is ready," penetrated drow- 
sily to the nerve of his ear, as a sound 
heard in sleep. He rose suddenly with 
a start, opened a pair of great blue eyes, 
which shone abstractedly under the dome 
of a capacious and lofty forehead, and 
fixed them on the maiden, who by this 
time was looking up rather archly, and 
yet with an attitude of the most pro- 
found respect, while her venerated friend 
was assembling together his earthly facul- 
ties. 

" Tea is ready, if you please. Mother 
wished me to call you." 

" Oh ! ah ! yes ! indeed ! " he said, 
looking confusedly about, and starting for 
the door, in his study-gown. 

" If you please, Sir," said Mary, stand- 
ing in his way, " would you not like to 
put on your coat and wig V " 

The Doctor gave a hurried glance at 
his study-gown, put his hand to his head, 
which, in place of the ample curls of his 
full-bottomed wig, was decked only with 
a very ordinary cap, and seemed to come 
at once to full comprehension. He smil- 
* ed a kind of conscious, benignant smile, 
which adorned his high cheek-bones and 
hard features as sunshine adorns the side 
of a rock, and said, kindly, " Ah, well, 
child, I understand now; I'll be out in 
a moment." 

And Mary, sure that he was now on 
the right track, went back to the tea- 
room with the announcement that the 
Doctor was coming. 

In a few moments he entered, majestic 
and proper, in all the dignity of full-bot- 
tomed, powdered wig, full, flowing coat, 
with ample cufFs, silver knee- and shoe- 



104 



Tlie Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



buckles, as became the gravity and maj- 
esty of the minister of those days. 

He saluted all the company with a be- 
nignity which had a touch of the majes- 
tic, and also of the rustic in it; for at 
heart the Doctor was a bashful man, 
that is, he had somewhere in his mental 
camp that treacherous fellow whom John 
Bunyan anathematizes under the name 
of Shame. The company rpse on his 
entrance ; the men bowed and the wom- 
en curtsied, and all remained standing 
while he addressed to each with punctil- 
ious decorum those inquiries in regard 
to health and well-being which preface 
a social interview. Then, at a dignified 
sign from Mrs. Katy, he advanced to the 
table, and, all following his example, stood, 
while, with one hand uplifted, he went 
through a devotional exercise which, for 
length, more resembled a prayer than a 
grace, after which the company were 
seated. 

" Well, Doctor," said Mr. Brown, who, 
as a householder of substance, felt a con- 
scious right to be first to open conversa- 
tion with the minister, " people are be- 
ginning to make a noise about your views. 
I was talking with Deacon Timmins the 
other day down on the wharf, and he 
said Dr. Stiles said that it was entirely 
new doctrine, entirely so, and for his 
part he wanted the good old ways." 

" They say so, do they ? " said the Doc- 
tor, kindling up from an abstraction into 
which he seemed to be gradually subsid- 
ing. " Well, let them. I had rather pub- 
lish new divinity than any other, and the 
more of it the better, if it be but true. 
I should think it hardly worth while to 
write, if I had nothing new to say." 

" Well," said Deacon Twitchel, his 
meek face flushing with awe of his min- 
ister, " Doctor, there's all sorts of things 
said about you. Now the other day I 
was at the mill with a load of corn, and 
while I was a-waitin', Amariah Wadsworth 
came along with his'n ; and so while 
we were waitin', he says to me, ' Why, 
they say your minister is gettin' to be an 
Armenian ' ; and he went on a-tellin' 
how old Ma'am Badger told him that 



you interpreted some parts of Paul's 
Epistles clear on the Armenian side. 
You know Ma'am Badger's a master- 
hand at doctrines, and she's 'most an 
uncommon Calvinist." 

" That does not frighten me at all," 
said the sturdy Doctor. " Supposing I 
do interpret some texts like the Armin- 
ians. Can't Arminians have anything 
right about them ? Who wouldn't rather 
go with the Arminians when they are 
right, than with the Calvinists when they 
are wrong ? " 

" That's it, you've hit it, Doctor," said 
Simeon Brown. " That's what I always 
say. I say, ' Don't he prove it ? and how 
are you going to answer him '? ' That 
gravels 'em." 

" Well," said Deacon Twitchel, " Broth- 
er Seth, you know Brother Seth, he 
says you deny depravity. He's all for im- 
putation of Adam's sin, you know ; and I 
have long talks with Seth about it, every 
time he comes to see me ; and he says, 
that, if we did not sin in Adam, it's givin' 
up the whole ground altogether ; and then 
he insists you're* clean wrong about the 
unregenerate doings." 

" Not at all, not in the least," said 
the Doctor, promptly. 

" I wish Seth could talk with you some- 
time, Doctor. Along in the spring, he 
was down helpin' me to lay stone fence, 
it was when we was fencin' off the south- 
pastur' lot, and we talked pretty nigh all 
day; and it re'lly did seem to me that 
the longer we talked, the setter Seth grew. 
He's a master-hand at readin' ; and when 
he heard that your remarks on Dr. May- 
hew had come out, Seth tackled up o' 
purpose and come up to Newport to get 
them, and spent all his time, last winter, 
studyin' on it and makin' his remarks ; 
and I tell you, Sir, he's a tight fellow to 
argue with. Why, that day, what with 
layin' stone wall and what with arguin' 
with Seth, I come home quite beat out, 
Miss Twitchel will remember." 

" That he was ! " said his helpmeet " I 
'member, when he came home, says I, 
' Father, you seem clean used up '; and I 
stirred 'round lively like, to get him his 



1859.] 



The Minister s Wooing. 



105 



tea. But he jest went into the bedroom 
and laid down afore supper; and I says 
to Cerinthy Ann, ' That's a thing I ha'n't 
seen your father do since he was took 
with the typhus.' And Cerinthy Ann, she 
said she knew 'twa'n't anything but them 
old doctrines, that it was always so when 
Uncle Seth come down. And after tea 
Father was kinder chirked up a little, 
and he and Seth set by the fire, and was 
a-beginnin' it ag'in, and I jest spoke out 
and said, ' Now, Seth, these 'ere _ things 
doesn't hurt you ; but the Deacon is weak- 
ly, and if he gets his mind riled after sup- 
per, he don't sleep none all night. So,' 
says I, ' you'd better jest let matters stop 
where they be ; 'cause,' says I, ' "twon't 
make no difference, for to-night, which 
on ye's got the right on't ; reckon the 
Lord '11 go on his own way without you ; 
and we shall find out, by'in-by, what that 
is.' " 

" Mr. Scudder used to think a great 
deal on these points," said Mrs. Katy, 
" and the last time he was home he wrote 
out his views. I haven't ever show"n them 
to you, Doctor ; but I should be pleased 
to know what you think of them." 

" Mr. Scudder was a good man, with 
a clear head," said the Doctor ; " and I 
should be much pleased to see anything 
that he wrote." 

A flush of gratified feeling passed over 
Mrs. Katy's face ; for one flower laid 
on the shrine which we keep in our hearts 
for the dead is worth more than any gift 
to our living selves. 

We will not now pursue our party 
further, lest you, Reader, get more the- 
ological tea than you can drink. We 
will not recount the numerous nice points 
raised by Mr. Simeon Brown and ad- 
justed by the Doctor, and how Simeon 
invariably declared, that that was the 
way in which he disposed of them him- 
self, and how he had thought it out ten 
years ago. 

We will not relate, either, too minute- 
ly, how Mary changed color and grew 
pale and red in quick succession, when 
Mr. Simeon Brown incidentally remark- 
ed, that tho " Monsoon " was going to set 



sail that very afternoon, for her three- 
years' voyage. Nobody noticed it in the 
busy amenities, the sudden welling and 
ebbing of that one poor little heart-foun- 
tain. 

So we go, so little knowing what we 
touch and what touches us as we talk ! 
We drop out a common piece of news, 
" Mr. So-and-so is dead, Miss Such- 
a-one is married, such a ship has sail- 
ed," and lo, on our right hand or our 
left, some heart has sunk under the news 
silently, gone down in the great ocean 
of Fate, without even a bubble rising to 
tell its drowning pang. And this God 
help us! is what we call living! 

CHAPTER V. - 

THE LETTER. 

MARY returned to the quietude of her 
room. The red of twilight had faded, 
and the silver moon, round and fair, was 
rising behind the thick boughs of the ap- 
ple-trees. She sat down in the window, 
thoughtful and sad, and listened to the 
crickets, whose ignorant jollity often 
sounds as mournfully to us mortals as 
ours may to superior beings. There the 
little hoarse, black wretches were scraping 
and creaking, as if life and death were 
invented solely for their pleasure, and 
the world were created only to give them 
a good time in it. Now and then a little 
wind shivered among the boughs, and 
brought down a shower of white petals 
which shimmered in the slant beams of 
the moonlight ; and now a ray touched 
some tall head of grass, and forthwith it 
blossomed into silver, and stirred itself 
with a quiet joy, like a new-born saint 
just awaking in paradise. And ever and 
anon came on the still air the soft eternal 
pulsations of the distant sea, sound 
mourufulest, most mysterious, of all the 
harpings of Nature. It was the sea, the 
deep, eternal sea, the treacherous, soft, 
dreadful, inexplicable sea; and he was 
perhaps at this moment being borne away 
on it, away, away, to what sorrows, to 
what temptations, to what dangers, she 
knew not She looked along the old, 



106 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



familiar, beaten path by which he came, 
by which he went, and thought, " What if 
he never should come back ? " There was 
a little path through the orchard out to 
a small elevation in the pasture-lot be- 
hind, whence the sea was distinctly visi- 
ble, and Mar} r had often used her low- 
silled window as a door when she wanted 
to pass out thither ; so now she step- 
ped out, and, gathering her skirts back 
from the dewy grass, walked thoughtfully 
along the path and gained the hill. New- 
port harbor lay stretched out in the dis- 
tance, with the rising moon casting a long, 
wavering track of silver upon it ; and ves- 
sels, like silver-winged moths, were turn- 
ing and shifting slowly to and fro upon 
it, and one stately ship in full sail pass- 
ing fairly out under her white canvas, 
graceful as some grand, snowy bird. 
Mary's beating heart told her that there 
was passing away from her one who car- 
ried a portion of her existence with him. 
She sat down under a lonely tree that 
stood there, and, resting her elbow on her 
knee, followed the ship with silent prayers, 
as it passed, like a graceful, cloudy dream, 
out of her sight. 

Then she thoughtfully retraced her 
way to her chamber ; and as she was en- 
tering, observed in the now clearer moon- 
light what she had not seen before, some- 
thing white, like a letter, lying on the 
floor. Immediately she struck a light, 
and there, sure enough, it was, a letter 
in James's handsome, dashing hand ; and 
the little puss, before she knew what she 
was about, actually kissed it, with a fervor 
which would much have astonished the 
writer, could he at that moment have 
been clairvoyant. But Mary felt as one 
who finds, in the emptiness after a friend's 
death, an unexpected message or me- 
mento ; and all alone in the white, calm 
stillness of her little room her heart took 
sudden possession of her. She opened 
the letter with trembling hands, and read 
what of course we shall let you read. 
We got it out of a bundle of old, smoky, 
yellow letters, years after all the parties 
concerned were gone on the eternal jour- 
ney beyond earth. 



"MY DEAR MARY, 

" I cannot leave you so. I have 
about two hundred things to say to you, 
and it's a shame I could not have had 
longer to see you ; .but blessed be ink 
and paper ! I am writing and seeing to 
fifty things besides; so you mustn't won- 
der if my letter has rather a confused 
appearance. 

" I have been thinking that perhaps I 
gave you a wrong impression of myself, 
this afternoon. I am going to speak 
to you from my heart, as if I were con- 
fessing on my death-bed. Well, then, I 
do not confess to being what is commonly 
called a bad young man. I should be 
willing that men of the world generally, 
even strict ones, should look my life 
through and know all about it. It is only 
in your presence, Mary, that I feel that I 
am bad and low and shallow and mean, 
because you represent to me a sphere 
higher and holier than any in which I 
have ever moved, and stir up a sort of 
sighing and longing in my heart to come 
towards it. In all countries, in all temp- 
tations, Mary, your image has stood be- 
tween me and low, gross vice. When I 
have been with fellows roaring drunken, 
beastly songs, suddenly I have seemed 
to see you as you used to sit beside me in 
the singing-school, and your voice has 
been like an angel's in my ear, and I 
have got up and gone out sick and dis- 
gusted. Your face has risen up calm and 
white and still, between the faces of poor 
lost creatures who know no better way 
of life than to tempt us to sin. And 
sometimes, Mary, when I have seen girls 
that, had they been cared for by good 
pious mothers, might have been like yon, 
I have felt as if I could cry for them. 
Poor women are abused all the world 
over; and it's no wonder they turn round 
and revenge themselves on us. 

'?.No, I have not been bad, Mary, as 
the world calls badness. I have been kept 
by you. But do you remember you told 
me once, that, when the snow first fell and 
lay so dazzling and pure and soft, all 
about, you always felt as if the spreads 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



107 



and window-curtains that seemed white 
before were dirty ? Well, it's just like 
that with me. Your presence makes me 
loci that I am not pure, that I am low 
and unworthy, not worthy to touch the 
hem of your garment Your good Dr. H. 
spent a whole half-day, the other Sunday, 
trying to tell us about the beauty of holi- 
ness ; and he cut, and pared, and peeled, 
and sliced, and told us what it wasn't, 
and what was like it, and wasn't ; and 
then he built up an exact definition, and 
fortified and bricked it up all round ; and 
I thought to myself that he'd better tell 
'cm to look at Mary Scudder, and they'd 
understand all about it That was what 
I was thinking when you talked to me 
for looking at you in church instead of 
looking towards the pulpit. It really 
made me laugh in myself to see what a 
good little ignorant, unconscious way you 
had of looking up at the Doctor, as if he 
knew more about that than you did. 

" And now as to your Doctor that you 
think so much of, I like him for certain 
things, in certain ways. He is a great, 
grand, large pattern of a man, a man 
who isn't afraid to think, and to speak 
anything he does think ; but then I do 
believe, if he would take a voyage round 
the world in the forecastle of a whaler, 
he would know more about what to say 
to people than he does now ; it would cer- 
tainly give him several new points to be 
considered. Much of his preaching about 
men is as like live men as Chinese pic- 
tures of trees and rocks and gardens, 
no nearer the reality than that. All I can 
say is, ' It isn't so ; and you'd know it, Sir, 
if you knew men.' He has got what they 
call a system, just so many bricks put 
together just so; but it is too narrow to 
take in all I see in my wanderings round 
this world of ours. Nobody that has a 
soul, and goes round the world as I do, 
can help feeling it at times, and thinking, 
as he sees all the races of men and their 
ways, who made them, and what they 
were made for. To doubt the existence 
of a God seems to me like a want of 
common sense. There is a Maker and 
a Uuler, doubtless; but then, Mary, all 



this invisible world of religion is unreal 
to me. I can see we must be good, some- 
how, that if we are not, we shall not 
be happy here or hereafter. As to all 
the metaphysics of your good Doctor, you 
can't tell how they tire me. I'm not the 
sort of person that they can touch. I 
must have real things, real people ; 
abstractions are nothing to me. Then I 
think that he systematically contradicts 
on one Sunday what he preaches on 
another. One Sunday he tells us that 
God is the immediate efficient Author of 
every act of will ; the next he tells us 
that we are entire free agents. I see no 
sense in it, and can't take the trouble to 
put it together. But then he and you 
have something in you that I call reli- 
gion, something that makes you good. 
When I see a man working away on an 
entirely honest, unworldly, disinterested 
pattern, as he does, and when I see you, 
Mary, as I said before, I should like at 
least to be as you are, whether I could 
believe as you do or not. 

" How could you so care for me, and 
waste on one so unworthy of you such 
love ? Oh, Mary, some better man must 
win you ; I never shall and never can ; 
but then you must not quite forget me ; you 
must be my friend, my saint. If, through 
your prayers, your Bible, your friendship, 
you can bring me to your state, I am will- 
ing to be brought there, nay, desirous. 
God has put the key of my soul into your 
hands. 

" So, dear Mary, good-bye ! Pray still 
for your naughty, loving 

" COUSIN JAMES." 

Mary read this letter, and re-read it, 
with more pain than pleasure. To feel 
the immortality of a beloved soul hang- 
ing upon us, to feel that its only commu- 
nications with Heaven must be through us, 
is the most solemn and touching thought 
that can pervade a mind. It was without 
one particle of gratified vanity, with even 
a throb of pain, that she read such exalt- 
ed praises of herself from one blind to 
the glories of a far higher loveliness. 

Yet was she at that moment, unknown 



108 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



to herself, one of the great company scat- 
tered through earth who are priests unto 
God, ministering between the Divine 
One, who has unveiled himself unto them, 
and those who as yet stand in the outer 
courts of the great sanctuary of truth and 
holiness. Many a heart, wrung, pierced, 
bleeding with the sins and sorrows of 
earth, longing to depart, stands in this 
mournful and beautiful ministry, but 
stands unconscious of the glory of the 
work in which it waits and suffers. God's 
kings and priests are crowned with thorns, 
walking the earth with bleeding feet, and 
comprehending not the work they are 
performing. 

Mary took from a drawer a small 
pocket-book, from which dropped a lock 
of black hair, a glossy curl, which seem- 
ed to have a sort of wicked, wilful life 
in every shining ring, just as she had 
often seen it shake naughtily on the own- 
er's Lead. She felt a strange tenderness 
towards the little wilful thing, and, as she 
leaned over it, made in her heart a thou- 
sand fond apologies for every fault and 
error. 

She was standing thus when Mrs. Scud- 
der entered the room to see if her daugh- 
ter had yet retired. 

" What are you doing there, Mary ? " 
she said, as her eye fell on the letter. 
" What is it you are reading ? " 

Mary felt herself grow pale ; it was the 
first time in her whole life that her moth- 
er had asked her a question that she was 
not from the heart ready to answer. .Her 
loyalty to her only parent had gone on 
even-handed with that she gave to her 
God ; she felt, somehow, that the revela- 
tions of that afternoon had opened a gulf 
between them, and the consciousness over- 
powered her. 

Mrs. Scudder was astonished at her ev- 
ident embarrassment, her trembling, and 
paleness. She was a woman of prompt, 
imperative temperament, and the slight- 
est hesitation in rendering to her a full, 
outspoken confidence had never before 
occurred in their intercourse. Her child 
was the core of her heart, the apple of 
hfer eye, and intense love is always near 



neighbor to anger; there was, therefore, 
an involuntary flash from her eye and 
a heightening of her color, as she said, 
" Mary, are you concealing anything 
from your mother ? " 

In that moment, Mary had grown calm 
again. The wonted serene, balanced na- 
ture had found its habitual poise, and she 
looked up innocently, though with tears 
in her large, blue eyes, and said, 

" No, mother, I have nothing that I 
do not mean to tell you fully. This let- 
ter came from James Marvyn ; he came 
here to see me this afternoon." 

" Here ? when ? I did not see 
him." 

" After dinner. I was sitting here in 
the window, and suddenly he came up 
behind me through the orchard-path." 

Mrs. Katy sat down with a flushed 
cheek and a discomposed air ; but Mary 
seemed actually to bear her down by the 
candid clearness of the large, blue eye 
which she turned on her, as she stood 
perfectly collected, with her deadly pale 
face and a brilliant spot burning on each 
cheek. 

" James came to say good-bye. He 
complained that he had not had a chance 
to see me alone since he came home." 

" And what should he want to see you 
alone for ? " said Mrs. Scudder, in a dry, 
disturbed tone. 

" Mother, everybody has things at 
times which they would like to say to 
some one person alone," said Mary. 

" Well, tell me what he said." 

" I will try. In the first place, he said 
that he always had been free, all his life, 
to run in and out of our house, and to 
wait on me like a brother." 

" Hum ! " said Mrs. Scudder ; " but he 
isn't your brother, for all that." 

" Well, then, he wanted to know why 
you were so cold to him, and why you 
never let him walk with me from meet- 
ings or see me alone, as we often used 
to. And I told him why, that we were 
not children now, and that you thought 
it was not best ; and then I talked with 
him about religion, and tried to persuade 
him to attend to the concerns of his soul ; 



1859.] 



T/ie Minister's Wooing. 



109 



and I never felt so much hope for him as 
I do now." 

Aunt Katy looked skeptical, and re- 
marked, " If he really felt a disposition 
for religious instruction, Dr. II. could 
guide him much better than you could." 

u Yes, so I told him, and I tried to 
persuade him to talk with Dr. II. ; but he 
was very unwilling. He said, I could 
have more influence over him than any- 
body else, that nobody could do him 
any good but me." 

" Yes, yes, I understand all that," 
said Aunt Katy, " I have heard young 
men say that before, and I know just what 
it amounts to." 

" But, mother, I do think James was 
moved very much, this afternoon. I nev- 
er heard him speak so seriously ; he 
seemed really in earnest, and he asked 
me to give him my Bible." 

" Couldn't he read any Bible but 
yours ? " 

" Why, naturally, you know, mother, 
he would like my Bible better, because it 
would put him in mind of me. He prom- 
ised faithfully to read it all through." 

" And then, it seems, he wrote you a 
letter." 

" Yes, mother." 

Mary shrank from showing this letter, 
from the natural sense of honor which 
makes us feel it indelicate to expose to 
an unsympathizing eye the confidential 
outpourings of another heart; and theu 
she felt quite sure that there was no such 
intercessor for James in her mother's 
heart as in her own. But over all this 
reluctance rose the determined force of 
duty ; and she handed the letter in si- 
lence to her mother. 

Mrs. Scudder took it, laid it deliberately 
in her lap, and then began searching in 
the pocket of her chintz petticoat for her 
spectacles. These being found, she wiped 
them, accurately adjusted them, opened 
the letter and spread it on her lap, brush- 
ing out its folds and straightening it, that 
she might read with the greater ease. 
After this she read it carefully and de- 
liberately ; and all this while there was 
such a stillness, that the sound of the 



tall varnished clock in the best room 
could be heard through the half-opened 
door. 

After reading it with the most tiresome, 
torturing slowness, she rose, and laying 
it on the table under Mary's eye, and 
pressing down her finger on two linos 
in the letter, said, " Mary, have you 
told James that you loved him ? " 

" Yes, mother, always. I always loved 
him, and he always knew it." 

" But, Mary, this that he speaks of lit 
something different. What has passed 
between " 

" Why, mother, he was saying that we 
who were Christians drew to ourselves 
and did not care for the salvation of our 
friends ; and then I told him how I had 
always prayed for him, and how I should 
be willing even to give up my hopes in 
heaven, if he might be saved." 

" Child, what do you mean ? " 

" I mean, if only one of us two could 
go to heaven, I had rather it should be 
him than me," said Mary. 

" Oh, child ! child ! " 'said Mrs. Scud- 
der, with a sort of groan, " has it gone 
with you so far as this? Poor child! 
after all my care, you are in love with 
this boy, your heart is set on him." 

" Mother, I am not. I never expect 
to see him much, never expect to marry 
him or anybody else ; only he seems to 
me to have so much more life and soul 
and spirit than most people, I think 
him so noble and grand, that is, that 
he could be, if he were all he ought to 
be, that, somehow, I never think of 
myself in thinking of him, and his sal- 
vation seems worth more than mine ; 
men can do so much more ! they can 
live such splendid lives ! oh, a real no- 
' ble man is so glorious ! " 

"And you would like to see him well 
married, would you not?" said Mrs. 
Scudder, sending, with a true woman's 
aim, this keen arrow into the midst of 
the cloud of enthusiasm which enveloped 
her daughter. " I think," she added, 
" that Jane Spencer would make him 
an excellent wife." 

Mary was astonished at a strange, new 



110 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[January, 



pain that shot through her at these words. 
She drew in her breath and turned 
herself uneasily, as one who had liter- 
ally felt a keen dividing blade piercing 
between soul and spirit. Till this mo- 
ment, she had never been conscious of 
herself; but the shaft had torn the veil. 
She covered her face with her hands ; 
the hot blood flushed scarlet over neck 
and brow ; at last, with a beseeching look, 
she threw herself into her mother's arms. 

" Oh, mother, mother, I am selfish, 
after all ! " 

Mrs. Scudder folded her silently to 
her heart, and said, " My daughter, this 
is not at all what I wished it to be ; I 
see how it is ; but then you have been 
a good child ; I don't blame you. We 
can't always help ourselves. We don't 
always really know how we do feel. I 
didn't know, for a long while, that I 
loved your father. I thought I was only 
curious about him, because he had a 
strange way of treating me, different 
from other men ; but, one day, I re- 
member, Julian Simons told me that it 
was reported that his mother was making 
a match for him with Susan Emery, and 
I was astonished to find how I felt. I 
saw him that evening, and the moment he 
looked at me I saw it wasn't true ; all at 
once I knew something I never knew be- 
fore, and that was, that I should be very 
unhappy, if he loved any one else better 
than me. But then, my child, your 
father was a different man from James ; 
he was as much better than I was as 
you are than James. I was a foolish, 
thoughtless young thing then. I never 
should have been anything at all, but 
for him. Somehow, when I loved him, 
I grew more serious, and then he always 
guided and led me. Mary, your father - 
was a wonderful man ; he was one of 
the sort that the world knows not of; 
sometime I must show you his letters. I 
always hoped, my daughter, that you 
would marry such a man." 

" Don't speak of marrying, mother. 
I never shall marry." 

" You certainly should not, unless you 
can marry in the Lord. Remember the 



words, ' Be ye not unequally yoked to- 
gether with unbelievers. For what fel- 
lowship hath righteousness with unright- 
eousness ? and what communion hath 
light with darkness ? and what concord 
hath Christ with Belial ? or what part 
hath he that believeth with an infidel ? ' " 

" Mother, James is not an infidel." 

" He certainly is an unbeliever, Mary, 
by his own confession ; but then God is 
a Sovereign and hath mercy on whom He 
will. You do right to pray for him ; but 
if he does not come out on the Lord's 
side, you must not let your heart mislead 
you. He is going to be gone three years, 
and you must try to think as little of him 
as possible ; put your mind upon your 
duties, like a good girl, and God will bless 
you. Don't believe too much in your 
power over him ; young men, when they 
are in love, will promise anything, and 
really think they mean it ; but nothing is 
a saving change, except what is wrought 
in them by sovereign grace." 

" But, mother, does not God use the 
love we have to each other as a means 
of doing us g|pd ? Did you not say that 
it was by your love to father that you 
first were led to think seriously ? " 

" That is true, my child," said Mrs. 
Scudder, who, like many of the rest of 
the world, was surprised to meet her own 
words walking out on a track where she 
had not expected them, but was yet too 
true of soul to cut their acquaintance 
because they were not going the way of 
her wishes. " Yes, all that is true ; but 
yet, Mary, when one has but one little 
ewe lamb in the world, one is jealous of 
it I would give all the world, if you had 
never seen James. It is dreadful enough 
for a woman to love anybody as you can, 
but it is more to love a man of unsettled 
character and no religion. But then the 
Lord appoints all our goings ; it is not in 
man that walketh to direct his steps ; I 
leave you, my child, in His hands." And, 
with one solemn and long embrace, the 
mother and daughter parted for the 
night 

It is impossible to write a story of New 
England life and manners for a thought- 



1859.] 



White's Shakspcare. 



Ill 



less, shallow-minded person. If we rep- 
resent things as they are, their intensity, 
their depth, their unworldly gravity and 
earnestness, must inevitably repel lighter 
spirits, as the reverse pole of the magnet 
drives off sticks and straws. 

In no other country were the soul and 
the spiritual life ever such intense realities, 
and everything contemplated so much (to 
use a current New England phrase) " in 
reference to eternity." Mrs. Scudder 
was a strong, clear-headed, practical wom- 
an. No one had a clearer estimate of 
the material and outward life, or could 
more minutely manage its smallest item ; 
but then a tremendous, eternal future 
had so weighed down and compacted the 
fibres of her very soul, that all earthly 
things were but as dust in comparison to 
it That her child should be one elect- 
ed to walk in white, to reign with Christ 
when earth was a forgotten dream, was 
her one absorbing wish ; and she looked 
on all the events of life only with refer- 
ence to this. The way of life was nar- 
row, the chances in favor of any child ' 
of Adam infinitely small ^.he best, the 
most seemingly pure and fair, was by 
nature a child of wrath, and could be 
saved only by a sovereign decree, by 
which it should be plucked as a brand 



from the burning. Therefore it was, that, 
weighing all things in one balance, there 
was the sincerity of her whole being in the 
dread which she felt at the thought of her 
daughter's marriage with an unbeliever. 

Mi's. Scudder, after retiring to her 
room, took her Bible, in preparation for 
her habitual nightly exercise of devotion, 
before going to rest She read and re- 
read a chapter, scarce thinking what she 
was reading, aroused herself, and then 
sat with the book in her hand in deep 
thought. James Marvyn was her cous- 
in's son, and she had a strong feeling 
of respect and family attachment for his 
father. She had, too, a real kindness for 
the young man, whom she regarded as a 
well-meaning, wilful youngster; but that 
lie should touch her saint^ her Mary, 
that he should take from her the daugh- 
ter who was her all, really embittered 
her heart towards him. 

" After all," she said to herself, " there 
are three years, three years in which 
there will be no letters, or perhaps only 
one or two, and a great deal may be 
done in three years, if one is wise " ; 
and she felt within herself an arousing 
of all the shrewd womanly and motherly 
tact of her nature to meet this new emer- 
gency. 



[To be continued.] 



WHITE'S SHAKSPEARE* 
(FIRST NOTICE.) 



IT may be doubted whether any lan- 
guage be rich enough to maintain more 
than one truly great poet, and whether 
there be more than one period, and that 
very short, in the life of a language, when 
such a phenomenon as a great poet is 
possible. It may be reckoned one of the 

* The Works of William Shakspeare. Edit- 
ed, etc., by RICHARD GRANT WHITE. Vols. 
II., III., IV., and V. Boston: Little, Brown, 
& Co. 1858. 



rarest pieces of good-luck that ever fell 
to the share of a race, that (as was true 
of Shakspeare) its most rhythmic genius, 
its acutest intellect, its profoundest imag- 
ination, and its healthiest understanding 
should have been combined in one in.in, 
and that he should have arrived at the full 
development of his powers at the moment 
when the material in which he was to 
work that wonderful composite called 
English, the best result of the confusion 



112 



White's Sfiakspeare. 



[January, 



of tongues was in its freshest perfection. 
The English-speaking nations should 
build a monument to the misguided en- 
thusiasts of the Plain of Shinar; for, as 
the mixture of many bloods seems to 
have made them the most vigorous of 
modern races, so has the mingling of 
divers speeches given them a language 
which is perhaps the noblest vehicle of 
poetic thought that ever existed. 

Had Shakspcare been born fifty years 
earlier, he would have been cramped by 
a book-language, not yet flexible enough 
for the demands of rhythmic emotion, 
not yet sufficiently popularized for the 
natural and familiar expression of su- 
preme thought, not yet so rich in meta- 
physical phrase as to render possible that 
ideal representation of the great passions 
which is the aim and end of Art, not yet 
subdued by practice and general consent 
to a definiteness of accentuation essential 
to ease and congruity of metrical arrange- 
ment. Had he been born fifty years 
later, his ripened manhood would have 
found itself in an England absorbed and 
angry with the solution of political and 
religious problems, from which his whole 
nature was averse, instead of in that Eliza- 
bethan social system, ordered and plan- 
etary in its functions and degrees as 
the angelic hierarchy of the Arcopagite, 
where his contemplative eye could crowd 
itself with various and brilliant picture, 
and whence his impartial brain one 
lobe of which seems to have been Nor- 
manly refined and the other Saxonly sa- 
gacious could draw its morals of court- 
ly and worldly wisdom, its lessons of 
prudence and magnanimity. In estimat- 
ing Shakspeare, it should never be for- 
gotten, that, like Goethe, he was essen- 
tially observer and artist, and incapable 
of partisanship. The passions, actions, 
sentiments, whose character and results 
he delighted to watch and to reproduce, 
are those of man in society as it existed ; 
and it no more occurred to him to ques- 
tion the right of that society to exist than 
to criticize the divine ordination of the 
seasons. His business was with men as 
they were, not with man as he ought to 



be, with the human soul as it is shaped 
or twisted into character by the complex 
experience of life, not in its abstract es- 
sence, as something to be saved or lost 
During the first half of the seventeenth 
century, the centre of intellectual inter- 
est was rather in the other world than in 
this, rather in the region of thought and 
principle and conscience than in actual 
life. It was a generation in which the 
poet was, and felt himself, out of place. 
Sir Thomas Browne, our most imagina- 
tive mind since Shakspeare, found breath- 
ing-room, for a time, among the "0 al'i- 
tudines ! " of religious speculation, but 
soon descended to occupy himself with 
the exactitudes of science. Jeremy Tay- 
lor, who half a century earlier would 
have been Fletcher's rival, compels his 
clipped fancy to the conventual discipline 
of prose, (Maid Marian turned nun,) and 
.waters his poetic wine with doctrinal elo- 
quence. Milton is saved from making 
total shipwreck of his large-utteranced 
genius on the desolate Neman's Land of 
a religious epic only by the lucky help of 
Satan and his colleagues, with whom, as 
foiled rebels and republicans, he cannot 
conceal his sympathy. As purely poet ? 
Shakspeare would have come too late, 
had his lot fallen in that generation. 
In mind and temperament too exoteric 
for a mystic, his imagination could not 
have at once illustrated the influence 
of his epoch and escaped from it, like 
that of Browne ; the equilibrium of his 
judgment, essential to him as an artist, 
but equally removed from propagandism, 
whether as enthusiast or logician, would 
have unfitted him for the pulpit ; and his 
intellectual being was too sensitive to 
the wonder and beauty of outward life 
and Nature to have found satisfaction, 
as Milton's could, (and perhaps only 
by reason of his blindness,) in a world 
peopled by purely imaginary figures. 
We might fancy his becoming a great 
statesman, but he lacked the social posi- 
tion which could have opened that career 
to him. What we mean, when we say 
Shakspeare, is something inconceivable 
either during the reign of Henry the 



1859.] 



White's Shal-speare. 



113 



Eighth or the Commonwealth, and which 
would have been impossible after the 
Restoration. 

All favorable stars seem to have been 
in conjunction at his nativity. The Ref- 
ormation had passed the period of its 
vinous fermentation, and its clarified re- 
sults remained as an element of intellec- 
tual impulse and exhilaration ; there were 
small signs yet of the acetous and putre- 
factive stages which were to follow in the 
victory and decline of Puritanism. Old 
forms of belief and worship still lingered, 
all the more touching to Fancy, perhaps, 
that they were homeless and attainted ; 
the light of skeptic day was baffled by 
depths of forest where superstitious shapes 
still cowered, creatures of immemorial 
wonder, the raw material of Imagination. 
The invention of printing, without yet 
vulgarizing letters, had made the thought 
and history of the entire past contempo- 
raneous ; while a crowd of translators 
put every man who could read in inspir- 
ing contact with the select souls of all the 
centuries. A new world was thus opened 
to intellectual adventure at the very time 
when the keel of Columbus had turned 
the first daring furrow of discovery in 
that unmeasured ocean which still girt 
the known earth with a beckoning hori- 
zon of hope and conjecture, which was 
still fed by rivers that flowed down out 
of primeval silences, and which still 
washed the shores of Dreamland. Un- 
der a wise, cultivated, and firm-handed 
monarch also, the national feeling of 
England grew rapidly more homogene- 
ous and intense, the rather as the wom- 
anhood of the sovereign stimulated a 
more chivalric loyalty, while the new 
religion, of which she was the defender, 
helped to make England morally, as it 
was geographically, insular to the con- 
tinent of Europe. 

If circumstances could ever make a great 
national poet, here were all the elements 
mingled at melting-heat in the alembic, 
and the lucky moment of projection was 
clearly come. If a great national poet 
could ever avail himself of circumstances, 
this was the occasion, and, fortunately, 

VOL. III. 8 



Shakspeare was equal to it. Above all, 
we esteem it lucky that he found words 
ready to his use, original and untarnish- 
ed, types of thought whose sharp edges 
were unworn by repeated impressions. 
In reading Ilakluyt's Voyages, we are 
almost startled now and then to find that 
even common sailors could not tell the 
story of their wanderings without rising 
to an almost Odyssean strain, and habitu- 
ally used a diction that we should be glad 
to buy back from desuetude at any cost. 
Those who look upon language only as 
anatomists of its structure, or who regard 
it as only a means of conveying abstract 
truth from mind to mind, as if it were so 
many algebraic formulae, are apt to over- 
look the fact that its being^ alive is all 
that gives it poetic value. We do not 
mean what is technically called a living 
language, the contrivance, hollow as 
a speaking-trumpet, by which breathing 
and moving bipeds, even now, sailing o'er 
lifers solemn main, are enabled to hail 
each other and make known their mntunl 
shortness of mental stores, but one that 
is still hot from the hearts and brains of 
a people, not hardened yet, but moltenly 
"ductile to new shapes of sharp and clear 
relief in the moulds of new thought. So 
soon as a language has become literary, 
so soon as there is a gap between the 
speech of books and that of life, the lan- 
guage becomes, so far as poetry is con- 
cerned, almost as dead as Latin, and (as 
in writing Latin verses) a mind in itself 
essentially original becomes in the use 
of such a medium of utterance uncon- 
sciously reminiscential and reflective, lu- 
nar and not solar, in expression and even 
in thought. For words and thoughts 
have a much more intimate and genetic 
relation, one with the other, than most 
men have any notion of; and it is one 
thing to use our mother-tongue as if it 
belonged to us, and another to be the 
puppets of an overmastering vocabulary. 
" Ye know not," says Ascham, " what 
hurt ye do to Learning, that care not for 
Words, but for Matter, and so make a 
Divorce betwixt the Tongue and the 
Heart" Lingua Toscana in bocca Ro- 



114 



Whites Shakspeare. 



[January, 



mana is the Italian proverb ; and that of 
poets should be, The tongue of the peo- 
ple in the mouth of the scholar. We 
intend here no assent to the early the- 
ory, or, at any rate, practice, of Words- 
worth, who confounded plebeian modes 
of thought with rustic forms of phrase, 
and then atoned for his blunder by ab- 
sconding into a diction more Latinized 
than that of any poet of his century. 

Shakspeare was doubly fortunate. Sax- 
on by the father and Norman by the 
mother, he was a representative English- 
man. A country-boy, he learned first 
the rough and ready English of his rus- 
tic mates, who knew how to make nice 
verbs and adjectives curtsy to their needs. 
Going up to London, he acquired the lin- 
gua aulica precisely at the happiest mo- 
ment, just as it was becoming, in the strict- 
est sense .of the word, modern, just as it 
had recruited itself, by fresh impressments 
from the Latin and Latinized languages, 
with new words to express the new ideas 
of an enlarging intelligence which print- 
ing and translation were fast making cos- 
mopolitan, words which, in proportion 
to their novelty, and to the fact that the 
mother-tongue and the foreign had not 
yet wholly mingled, must have been used 
with a more exact appreciation of their 
meaning.* It was in London, and chiefly 
. by means of the stage, that a thorough 
^-amalgamation of the Saxon, Norman, 
aad scholarly elements of English was 
brought about. Already, Puttenham, in 
. his " Arte of English Poesy," declares 
that the practice of the capital and the 
country within sixty miles of it was the 
standard of correct diction, the jus et nor- 
ma loquendi. Already Spenser had al- 
most recreated English poetry, and it is 
interesting to observe, that, scholar as he 
was, the archaic words which he was at 
first over-fond of introducing are often 
provincialisms of purely English original. 
Already Marlowe had brought the English 
unrhymed pentameter (which had hither- 
to justified but half its name, by being 

* As where Ben Jonson is able to say, 
" Men may securely sin, but safely never." 



always blank and never verse) to a per- 
fection of melody, harmony, and variety 
which has never been surpassed. Shak- 
speare, then, found a language already to 
a certain extent established, but not yet 
fctlocked by dictionary- and grammar- 
mongers, a versification harmonized, 
but which had not yet exhausted all its 
modulations, or been set in the stocks by 
critics who deal judgment on refractor}' 
feet, that will dance to Orphean measures 
of which their judges are insensible. That 
the language was established is proved 
by its comparative uniformity as used by 
the dramatists, who wrote for mixed au- 
diences, as well as by Ben Jonson's sat- 
ire upon Marston's neologisms ; that it at 
the same time admitted foreign words to 
the rights of citizenship on easier terms 
than now is in good measure equally true. 
What was of greater import, no arbitrary 
line had been drawn between high words 
and low ; vulgar then meant simply what 
was common ; poetry had not been alien- 
ed from the people by the establishment 
of an Upper House of vocables, alone 
entitled to move in the stately ceremo- 
nials of verse, and privileged from arrest 
while they forever keep the promise of 
meaning to the ear and break it to the 
sense. The hot conception of the poet 
had no time to cool while he was debat- 
ing the comparative respectability of this 
phrase or that ; but he snatched what 
word his instinct prompted, and saw no 
indiscretion in making a king speak as 
his country-nurse might have taught him.* 
It was Waller who first learned in France 
that to talk in rhyme alone comported 
with the state of royalty. In the time 
of Shakspeare, the living tongue resem- 
bled that tree which Father Hue saw in 
Tartary, whose leaves were languaged, 
and every hidden root of thought, ev- 
ery subtilest fibre of feeling, was mated 

* " Vulgarem locutionem appellamus earn 
qu& infantes adsuefiunt ab adsistentibus cum 
primitus distinguere voces incipiunt: vel, 
quod brevius dici potest, vulgarem locutio- 
nem asserimus quam sine omni regula, nutri- 
cem imitantes, acc.tpimus. Dantes, de Vulg. 
ELoyuo, Lib. I. cap. L 



1859.] 



Whites Shahpeare. 



115 



by new shoots and leafage of expression, 
fed from those unseen sources in the 
common earth of human nature. 

The Cabalists had a notion, that who- 
ever found out the mystic word for 
anything attained to absolute mastery 
over that thing. The reverse of this is 
certainly true of poetic expression ; for 
he who is thoroughly possessed of his 
thought, who imaginatively conceives an 
idea or image, becomes master of the 
word that shall most amply and fitly 
utter it. Heminge and Condell tell us, 
accordingly, that there was scarce a blot 
in the manuscripts they received from 
Shakspeare ; and this is the natural corol- 
lary from the fact that such an imagina- 
tion as his is as unparalleled as the force, 
variety, and beauty of the phrase in 
which it embodied itself.* We believe 
that Shakspeare, like all other great 
poets, instinctively used the dialect which 
he found current, and that his words are 
not more wrested from their ordinary 
meaning than followed necessarily from 
the unwonted weight of thought or stress 
of passion they were called on to support. 
He needed not to mask familiar thoughts 
in the weeds of unfamiliar phraseology; 
for the life that was in his mind could 
transfuse the language of every day 
with an intelligent vivacity, that makes 

# Gray, himself a painful corrector, told 
Nicholls that " nothing was done so well as 
at the first concoction," adding, as a reason, 
" We think in words." Ben Jonson said, it 
was a pity Shakspeare had not blotted more, 
for that he sometimes wrote nonsense, and 
cited in proof of it the verse 

" Caesar did never wrong but with just cause." 

The last four words do not appear in the pas- 
sage as it now stands, and Professor Craik 
suggests that they were stricken out in con- 
sequence of Jonson's criticism. This is very 
probable; but we suspect that the pen that 
blotted them was in the hand of Master Hem- 
inge or his colleague. The moral confusion 
in the idea was surely admirably character- 
istic of the general who had just accomplish- 
ed a successful coup d'etat, the condemnation 
of which he would fancy that he read in the 
face of every honest man he met, and which 
he would therefore be forever indirectly palli- 
ating. 



it seem lambent with fiery purpose, and 
at each new reading a new creation, lie 
could say with Dante, that " no word 
had ever forced him to say what he would 
not, though he had forced many a word 
to say what it would not," but only in 
the sense, that the mighty magic of his 
imagination had conjured out of it its 
uttermost secret of power or pathos. He 
himself says, in one of his sonnets, 

" Why is my verse so barren of new pride, 
So far from alteration and quick change? 
Why, with the time, do I not glance aside 
To new-found methods and to compounds 

strange ? 

Why write I still all one, ever the same, 
And keep invention in a noted weed 
That every word doth almost tell my 

name?" 

When we say that Shakspeare used 
the current language of his day, we mean 
only that he habitually employed such 
language as was universally comprehen- 
sible, that he was not run away with by 
the hobby of any theory as to the fitness 
of this or that component of English for 
expressing certain thoughts or feelings. 
That the artistic value of a choice and 
noble diction was quite as well under- 
stood in his day as in ours is evident 
from the praises bestowed by his con- 
temporaries on Drayton, and by the epi- 
thet " well-languaged " applied to Daniel, 
whose poetic style is as modern as that 
of Tennyson ; but the endless absurdities 
about the comparative merits of Saxon 
and Norman-French, vented by persons 
incapable of distinguishing one tongue 
from the other, were as yet unheard of. 
The influence of the Normans in Roman- 
izing our language has been vastly over- 
rated. We find a principle of caste estab- 
lished in certain cases by the relation of 
producer and consumer, in others by 
the superior social standing of the con- 
quering race. Thus, ox, sheep, calf, mcitie, 
indicate the thing produced ; beef, mutton, 
veal, pork; the thing consumed.* It is flic 
same with the names of the various grains, 
and the product of the cheaper kinds 
when ground, as oat-meal, barley-meal, 
* Scott, in Ivnnhoe. 



116 



Willie's Sliakspeare. 



[January. 



rye-meal; while the generic term for the 
crop becomes grain, and the meal of the. 
variety used by the higher classes is turn- 
ed into flour. To bury remains Saxon, 
because both high and low must be hid- 
den under ground at last ; but as only the 
rich and noble could afford any pomp in 
that sad office, we get the word funeral 
from the Norman. So also the serf went 
into a Saxon grave, the lord into a Nor- 
man tomb. All the parts of armor are 
naturally named from the French ; the 
weapons of the people, as sword, bow, 
and the like, continued Saxon. So feath- 
er is Saxon ; but as soon as it changes 
into a plume for the knight, it turns Nor- 
man, and Latin when it is cut into a 
pen for the clerk. Book is Saxon ; but a 
number of books collected together, as 
could be done only by the rich, makes a 
library. Darling would be murmured 
over many a cradle in Saxon huts ; but 
minion came into the language down the 
back stairs of the Norman palace. In 
the same way, terms of law are Norman, 
and of the Church, Latin. These are 
familiar examples. But hasty general- 
izers are apt to overlook the fact, that 
the Saxon was never, to any great ex- 
tent, a literary language. Accordingly, 
it held its own very well in the names 
of common things, but failed to answer 
the demands of complex ideas, derived 
from them. The author of " Piers Plough- 
man " wrote for the people, Chaucer for 
the court. "We open at random and count 
the Latin* words jn ten verses of the 
" Vision " and ten of Chaucer's " Ro- 
maunt of the Rose," (a translation from 
the French,) and find the proportion to 
be seven in the former and five in the 
latter. 

The organs of the Saxon have always 
been unwilling and stiff in learning lan- 
guages. He acquired only about as many 
British words as we have Indian ones, and 
we believe that more French and Latin 
was introduced through the pen and the 
eye than through the tongue and the ear. 

* \Ve use the word Latin here to express 
words derived either mediately or immediate- 
ly from that language. 



For obvious reasons, the question is one 
that must be settled by reference to prose- 
writers, and not poets ; and it is, we think, 
pretty well settled that more words of 
Latin original were brought into the lan- 
guage in the century between 1550 and 
1650 than in the whole period before or 
since, and for the simple reason, that 
they were absolutely needful to express 
new modes and combinations of thought.* 
The language has gained immensely by 
the infusion, in richness of synonyme and 
in the power of expressing nice shades 
of thought and feeling, but more than 
all in light-footed polysyllables that trip 
singing to the music of verse. There 
are certain cases, it is true, where the 
vulgar Saxon word is refined, and the re- 
fined Latin vulgar, in poetry, as in sioeat 
and perspiration ; but there are vastly 
more in which the Latin bears the bell. 
Perhaps there might be a question be- 
tween the old English again-rising and 
resurrection ; but there can be no doubt 
that conscience is better than inirit, and 
remorse than ayain-bite. Should we trans- 
late the title < of Wordsworth's famous 
ode, " Intimations of Immortality," into 
" Hints of Deathlessness," it would hiss 
like an angry gander. If, instead of 
Shakspeare's 

" Age cannot wither her, 
Nor custom stale her infinite variety," 

we should say, " her boundless manifold- 
ness," the sentiment would suffer in exact 
proportion with the music. What home- 
bred English could ape the high Roman 
fashion of such togated words as 

" The multitudinous sea incarnadine," 

where the huddling epithet implies the 
tempest-tossed soul of the speaker, and 
at the same time pictures the wallowing 

* The prose of Chaucer (1390) and of Sir 
Thomas Malory (translating from the French, 
1470) is less Latinized than that of Bacon, 
Browne, Taylor, or Milton. The glossary to 
Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar (1579) explains 
words of Teutonic and Romanic root in about 
equal proportions. The parallel but inde- 
pendent development of Scotch is not to be 
forgotten. 



1859.] 



White's Shakspeare. 



117 



waste of ocean more vividly than the 
famous phrase of JEschylus does its rip- 
pling sunshine 'i Again, sailor is less 
poetical than mariner, as Campbell felt, 
when he wrote, 

" Ye mariners of England," 
and Coleridge, when he preferred 

" It was an ancient mariner " 

" It was an elderly seaman" ; 
for it is as much the charm of poetry 
that it suggest a certain remoteness and 
strangeness as familiarity; and it is es- 
sential not only that we feel at once the 
meaning of the words in themselves, but 
also their melodic meaning in relation to 
each other, and to the sympathetic variety 
of the verse. A word once vulgarized 
can never be rehabilitated. We might 
say now a buxom lass, or that a chamber- 
maid was .buxom, but we could not use 
the term, as Milton did, in its original 
sense of bowxome, that is, lithe, grace- 
fully bending.* 

* We believe that for the last two centuries 
the Latin radicals of English have been more 
familiar and homelike to those who use them 
than the Teutonic. Even so accomplished a 
person as Professor Craik, in his J:'nt/l!sk of 
tihuksptare, derives head, through the German 
haupt, from the Latin ctipul ! \\'e trust that 
its genealogy is nobler, and that it is of kin 
with crelum tueri, rather than with the Greek 
KcQaArj, if Suidas be right in tracing the ori- 
gin of that to a word meaning vacuity. Mr. 
Craik suggests, also, that quick and wicked 
may be etymologically identical, because he 
fancies a relationship between busy and the 
German base, though miked is evidently the 
paiticipial form of A. S. wacan, (German 
weiihen,) to bend, to yield, meaning <>;e who 
has (jicen way to temptation, while quick seems 
as clearly related to wtgan, meaning to move, 
a different word, even if radically the same. 
In the London Literary Gazette for Nov. 13, 
1868, we find an extract from Miss Milling- 
ton's Heraldry in History, Poetry, and Romance, 
in which, speaking of the motto of the Prince 
of Wales, De par Hoitnwut ich tlitm-, she 
says, " The precise meaning of the former 
word (llounwut\ has not, I think, been ascer- 
tained." The word is plainly the German 
Hochmuih, and the whole would read, De par 
(Aui) Jlvih ninth it h ditne, " Out (if magnanim- 
ity I serve." So entirely lost is the Saxon 



But the secret of force in writing lies 
not in the pedigree of nouns and adjec- 
tives and verbs, but in having something 
that you believe in to say, and making 
the parts of speech vividly conscious of 
it. It is when expression becomes an 
act of memory, instead of an unconscious 
necessity, that diction takes the place of 
warm and hearty speech. It is not safe 
to attribute special virtues (as Bosworth, 
for example, does to the Saxon) to words 
of whatever derivation, at least in poe- 
try. Because Lear's " oak-cleaving thun- 
derbolts," and " the all-dreaded thun- 
der-stone " in " Cymbeline " are so fine, 
we would not give up Milton's Virgiliau. 
" fulmined over Greece," where the verb 
in English conveys at once the idea of 
flash and reverberation, but avoids that 
of- riving and shattering. In the experi- 
ments made for casting the great bell for 
the Westminster Tower, it was found that 
the superstition which attributed the re- 
markable sweetness and purity of tone in 
certain old bells to the larger mixture of 
silver in their composition had no foun- 
dation in fact. It was the cunning pro- 
portion in which the ordinary metals were 
balanced against each other, the perfec- 
tion of form, and the nice gradations of 
thickness, that wrought the miracle. And 
it is precisely so with the language of 
poetry. The genius of the poet will tell 
him what word to use (else what use in 
his being poet at all?); and even then, 
unless the proportion and form, wheth- 
er of parts or whole, be all that Art re- 
quires and the most sensitive taste finds 
satisfaction in, he will have failed to 
make what shall vibrate through all its 
parts with a silvery unison, in other 
words, a poem. 

We think the component parts of Eng- 

meaning of the word knave, (A. S. cnava, Ger- 
man knabe,) that the name name, assumed by 
railway-laborers, has been transmogrified into * 
nitriijator. We believe that more people could 
tell why the month of July was so called than 
could explain the origin of the names for 
our days of the week, and that it is oftener 
the Saxon than the French words in Chaucer 
that puzzle the modern reader. 



113 



Wliite's ShaJcspeare. 



[January, 



lish were in the latter years of Elizabeth 
thus exquisitely proportioned one to the 
other. Yet Bacon had no faith in his 
mother-tongue, translating the works on 
which his tame was to rest into what he 
called " the universal language," and af- 
firming that " English would bankrupt 
all our books." He was deemed a mas- 
ter of it, nevertheless ; and it is curious 
that Ben Jonson applies to him in prose 
the same commendation which he gave 
Shakspeare in verse, saying, that he 
" performed that in our tongue which 
may be compared or preferred either to 
insolent Greece or haughty Rome"; and 
he adds this pregnant sentence : " In 
short, within his view and about his time 
were all the wits born that could honor a 
language or help study. Now things dai- 
ly fall : wits grow downwards, eloquence 
grows backwards." Ben had good reason 
for what he said of the wits. Not to 
speak of science, of Galileo and Kepler, 
the sixteenth century was a spendthrift 
of literary genius. An attack of immor- 
tality in a family might have been looked 
for then as scarlet-fever would be now. 
Montaigne, Tasso, and Cervantes were 
born within the same fourteen years ; and 
in England, while Spenser was still delv- 
ing over the propria quce maribus, and 
Raleigh launching paper navies, Shak- 
speare was stretching his baby hands for 
the moon, and the little Bacon, chewing 
on his coral, had discovered that impene- 
trability was one quality of matter. It 
almost takes one's breath away to think 
that " Hamlet " and the " Novum Orga- 
non " were at the risk of teething and 
measles at the same time. But Ben was 
right also in thinking that eloquence had 
grown backwards. He lived long enough 
to see the language of verse become in 
a measure traditionary and conventional. 
It was becoming so, partly from the ne- 
cessary order of events, partly because 
the most natural and intense expression 
of feeling had been in so many ways sat- 
isfied and exhausted, but chiefly because 
there was no man left to whom, as to 
v Shakspeare, perfect conception gave per- 
fection of phrase. Dante, among mod- 



ern poets, his only rival in condensed 
force, says, " Optimis conceptionibus op- 
tima loquela conveniet ; sed optimte con- 
ceptiones non possunt esse nisi ubi scien- 

tia et ingenium est ; et sic non 

omnibus versificantibus optima loquela 
convenit, cum plerique sine scientia et 
ingenio versificantur." * 

Shakspeare must hare been quite as 
well aware of the provincialism of English 
as Bacon was ; but he knew that great 
poetry, being universal in its appeal to 
human nature, can make any language 
classic, and that the men whose appre- 
ciation is immortality will mine through 
any dialect to get at an . original souL 
He had as much confidence in his home- 
bred speech as Bacon had want of it, and 
exclaims, 
" Not marble nor the gilded monuments 

Of princes shall outlive this powerful 
rhyme." 

He must have been perfectly conscious 
of his genius, and of the great trust which 
he imposed upon his native tongue as 
embodier and perpetuator of it. As he 
has avoided obscurities in his sonnets, he 
would do so a fortiori in his plays, both 
for the purpose of immediate effect on 
the stage and of future appreciation. 
Clear thinking makes clear writing, and 
he who has shown himself so eminently 
capable of it in one case is not to be 
supposed to abdicate intentionally in 
others. The difficult passages in the 
plays, then, are to be regarded either 
as corruptions, or else as phenomena 
in the natural history of Imagination, 
whose study will enable us to arrive at 
a clearer theory and better understand- 
ing of it. 

While we believe that our language 
had two periods of culmination in poetic 
beauty, one of nature, simplicity, and 

* De Vulgan Eloqvio, Lib. II. cap. i. aa 
finem. We quote this treatise as Dante's, 
because the thoughts seem manifestly his; 
though we believe that in its present form it 
is an abridgment by some transcriber, who 
sometimes copies tcxtually, and sometimes 
substitutes his ov,-n language for that of the 
original. 



1859.] 



Whites S/ta/cspeare. 



119 



truth, in the ballads, which deal only with 
narrative and feeling, another of Art, 
(or Nature as it is ideally reproduced 
through the imagination,) of stately am- 
plitude, of passionate intensity and eleva- 
tion, in Spenser and the greater drama- 
tists, and that Shakspeare made use of 
the latter as he found it, we by no means 
intend to say that he did not enrich it, or 
that any inferior man could have dipped 
the same words out of the great poet's 
inkstand. But he enriched it only by 
the natural expansion and exhilaration 
of which it was conscious, in yielding to 
die mastery of a genius that could turn 
and wind it like a fiery Pegasus, making 
it feel its life in every limb. He enriched 
it through that exquisite sense of music, 
(never approached but by Marlowe,) to 
which it seemed to be eagerly obedient, 
as "if every word said to him, 
"Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine 
ear," 

as if every latent harmony revealed itself 
to him as the gold to Brahma, when he 
walked over the earth where it was hid- 
den, crying, " Here am T, Lord! do with 
me what thou wilt ! " That he used lan- 
guage with that intimate possession of its 
meaning possible only to the most vivid 
thought is doubtless true ; but that he 
wantonly strained it from its ordinary 
sense, that he found it too poor for his 
necessities, and accordingly coined new 
phrases, or that, from haste or careless- 
ness, he violated any of its received pro- 
prieties, we do not believe. We have 
said that it was fortunate for him that 
he came upon an age when our lan- 
guage was at its best ; but it was fortu- 
nate also for us, because our costliest 
poetic phrase is put beyond reach of de- 
cay in the gleaming precipitate in which 
it united itself with his thought 

We do not, therefore, agree with Mr. 
Matthew Arnold, that the extravagance 
of thought and diction which character- 
izes much of our modern poetry is trace- 
able to the influence of Shakspeare. We 
gee in it only the futile effort of misguided 
persons to torture out of language the 
lecret of that inspiration which should 



be iu themselves. \Ve do not find the 
extravagances in Shakspeare himsel 
Wu never saw a line in any modern 
poet that reminded us of him, and will 
venture to assert that it is only poets of 
the second class that find successful imi-' 
tators. And the reason seems to us a 
very plain one. The genius of the great 
poet seeks repose in the expression of 
itself, and finds it at last in style, which 
is the establishment of a perfect mutual 
understanding between the worker and 
his material.* The secondary intellect, 
on the other hand, seeks for excitement 
in expression, and stimulates itself into 
mannerism, which is the wilful obtrusion 
of self, as style is its unconscious abnega- 
tion. No poet of the first class has ever 
left a school, because his imagination in 
incommunicable; while, just as surely as 
the thermometer tells of the neighbor- 
hood of au iceberg, you may detect the 
presence of a genius of the second class 
in any generation by the influence of his 
mannerism, for that, being an artificial 
thing, is capable of reproduction. Dante, 
Shakspeare, Goethe, left no heirs either 
to the form or mode of their expression ; 
while Milton, Sterne, and Wordsworth 
left behind them whole regiments uni- 
formed with all their external character- 
istics. We do not mean that great poetic 
geniuses may not have influenced thought, 
(though we think it would be dillicult to 
show how Shakspeare had done so, di- 
rectly and wilfully,) but that they have 
not infected contemporaries or followers 
with mannerism. 

That the propositions we have endeav- 
ored to establish have a direct bearing 
in various ways upon the qualifications of 
whoever undertakes to edit the works of 
Shakspeare will, we think, be apparent 
to those who consider the matter. The 
hold which Shakspeare has acquired and 
maintained upon minds so many and so 
various, in so many vital ivspi-cts utterly 

* Pheidias said of one of his pupils that he 
had an inspired thumb, because the model- 
ling-clay yielded to its careless sweep a grace 
of curve which it refused to the utmost pair* 
of others. 



120 



White's Shakspeare. 



[January, 



unsympathetic and even incapable of 
sympathy with his own, is one of the 
most noteworthy phenomena in the his- 
tory of literature. That he has had the 
most inadequate of editors, that, as his 
own FalstafF was the cause of the wit, so 
he has been the cause of the foolishness 
that was in other men, (as where Malone 
ventured to discourse upon his metres, 
and Dr. Johnson on his imagination.) 
must be apparent to every one, and also 
that his genius and its manifestations are 
so various, that there is no commentator 
but has been able to illustrate him from 
his own peculiar point of view or from 
the results of his own favorite studies. 
But to show that he was a good common- 
lawyer, that lie understood the theory of 
colors, that he was an accurate botanist, 
a master of the science of medicine, 
especially in its relation to mental dis- 
ease, a profound metaphysician, and of 
great experience and insight in politics, 
all these, while they may very well 
ionn the staple of separate treatises, and 
prove, that, whatever the extent of his 
learning, the range and accuracy of his 
knowledge were beyond precedent or 
later parallel, are really outside the 
province of an editor. 

That Shakspeare did not edit his own 
works must be attributed, we suspect, to 
his premature death. That he should 
not have intended it is inconceivable. 
That the " Tempest " was his latest work 
we have no doubt ; and perhaps it is not 
considering too nicely to conjecture a 
profound personal meaning in it. Is it 
over-fanciful to think that in the master 
Prospero we have the type of Imagina- 
tion '? in Ariel, of the wonder-working 
and winged Fantasy? in Caliban, of the 
half-animal but serviceable Understand- 
ing, tormented by Fancy and the un- 
willing slave of Imagination ? and that 
there is something of self-consciousness 
in the breaking of Prospero's wand and 
burying his book, a sort of sad prophe- 
cy, based on self-knowledge of the nature 
of that man who, after such thaumaturgy, 
could go down to Stratford and live 
there for years, only collecting his div- 



idends from the Globe Theatre, lend- 
ing money on mortgage, and leaning 
over his gate to chat and bandy quips 
with neighbors ? His thought had en- 
tered into every phase of human life and 
thought, had embodied all of them in liv- 
ing creations; had he found all empty, 
and come at last to the belief that genius 
and its works were as phantasmagoric as 
the rest, and that fame was as idle as the 
rumor of the pit ? However this may 
be, his works have come down to us in 
a condition of manifest and admitted 
corruption in some portions, while in 
others there is an obscurity which may 
be attributed either to an idiosyncratic 
use of words and condensation of phrase, 
to a depth of intuition for a proper co- 
alescence with which ordinary language 
is inadequate, to a concentration of pas- 
sion in a focus that consumes the lighter 
links which bind together the clauses of 
a sentence or of a process of reasoning 
in common parlance, or to a sense of 
music which mingles music and meaning 
without essentially confounding them. 
We should demand ibr a perfect edi- 
tor, then, first, a thorough glossological 
knowledge of the English contemporary 
with Shakspeare ; second, enough logical 
acuteness of mind and metaphysical train- 
ing to enable him to follow recondite pro- 
cesses of thought ; third, such a convic- 
tion of the supremacy of his author as 
always to prefer his thought to any the- 
ory of his "own ; fourth, a feeling for 
music,- and so much knowledge of the 
practice of other poets as to understand 
that Shakspeare's versification differs 
from theirs as often in kind as in de- 
gree ; fifth, an acquaintance with the 
world as well as with books ; and last, 
what is, perhaps, of more importance 
than all, so great a familiarity with the 
working of the imaginative faculty in 
general, and of its peculiar operation in 
the mind of Shakspeare, as will prevent 
his thinking a passage dark with excess of 
light, and enable him to understand fully 
that the Gothic Shakspeare often super- 
imposed upon the slender column of a 
single word, that seems to twist under it, 



1859.] 



Whites Shakspeare. 



121 



but does not, like the quaint shafts in 
cloisters, a weight of meaning which 
the modern architects of sentences would 
consider wholly unjustifiable by correct 
principle. 

It would be unreasonable to expect a 
union of all these qualifications in a single 
man, but we think that Mr. White com- 
bines them in larger proportion than any 
editor with whose labors we are acquaint- 
ed. He has an acuteness in tracing the 
finer fibres of thought worthy of the keen- 
est lawyer on the scent of a devious trail 
of circumstantial evidence ; he has a sin- 
cere desire to illustrate his author rather 
than himself; he is a man of the world, 
as well as a scholar ; he comprehends the 
mastery of imagination, and that it is the 
essential element as well of poetry as of 
profound thinking ; a critic of music, he 
appreciates the importance of rhythm as 
the higher mystery of versification. The 
stun of his qualifications is large, and his 
work is honorable to American letters. 

Though our own studies have led us to 
a somewhat intimate acquaintance with 
Elizabethan literature, it is with some dif- 
fidence that we bring the criticism of dilet- 
tanti to bear upon the labors of five years 
of serious investigation. We fortify our- 
selves, however, with Dr. Johnson's dic- 
tum on the subject of Criticism : " Why, 
no, Sir ; this is not just reasoning. You 
may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot 
make one. You may scold a carpenter 
who has made a bad table, though you 
cannot make a table ; it is not your trade 
to make tables." Not that we intend to 
abuse Mr. White's edition of Shakspeare, 
but we shall speak of what seem to us 
its merits and defects with the frankness 
which alone justifies criticism. 

We have spoken of Mr. White's re- 
markable qualifications. We shall now 



state shortly what seem to us his faults. 
We think his very acumen sometimes 
misleads him into fancying a meaning 
where none exists, or at least none an- 
swerable to the clarity and precision of 
Shakspeare's intellect ; that he is too has- 
ty in his conclusions as to the pronuncia- 
tion of words and the accuracy of rhymes 
in Shakspeare's day, and that he has 
been seduced into them by what we cannot 
help thinking a mistaken theory as to cer- 
tain words, as moth and nothing, for ex- 
ample ; that he shows, here and there, a 
glimpse of Americanism, especially mis- 
placed in an edition of the poet whose 
works do more than anything else, per- 
haps, to maintain the sympathy of the 
English race ; and that his prejudice 
against the famous corrected x folio of 1632 
leads him to speak slightingly of Mr. Col- 
lier, to whom ail lovers of our early liter- 
ature are indebted, and who alone, in the 
controver>y excited in England by the 
publication of his anonymous corrector's 
emendations, showed, under the most 
shameful provocation, the temper of a 
gentleman and the self-respect of a schol- 
ar. But after all these deductions, we 
remain of the opinion that Mr. White has 
given us the best edition hitherto pub- 
lished, and we do not like him the less 
for an occasional crotchet. For though 
Shakspeare himself seemed to think with 
regret that the dirge of the hobby-horso 
had been sung, yet, as we ourselves have 
given evidence, it is impossible for any 
one to write on this subject without tak- 
ing an occasional airing on one or more 
of those imaginary steeds that stand at 
livery with no risk of eating off their 
own heads. We shall take up the subject 
again in our next number, and by ex- 
tracts justify both our commendation and 
our criticisms of Mr. White. 



122 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



[January, 



REVIEAVS AND LITERARY NOTICES. 



A History of Philip the Second, King of 
Spain. By WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT. 
Vol. III. Boston : Phillips, Sampson, 
& Co. 1858. 

A CORDIAL welcome from many quar- 
ters will greet this third instalment of a 
work which promises, when completed, to 
be the most valuable contribution to Eu- 
ropean history ever made by an American 
scholar. This will in part be owing to the 
importance of the subject, which, though 
professing to be the history of a single 
country and a single reign, is in fact the 
great program of the politics of Chris- 
tendom, and of more than Christendom, 
during a period when the struggles of rival 
powers and of hostile principles and creeds 
kept the world in agitation and prolonged 
Buspense, when Romanism and Reform, 
the Crescent and the Cross, despotic pow- 
er and constitutional freedom, were con- 
tending for mastery, and no government 
or nation could stand wholly aloof from a 
contest in which the fate, not of empires 
alone, but of civilization, was involved. 
Spain, during that period, was the bul- 
wark of the Church against the attacks 
of the Reformers, and the bulwark of 
Christendom against the attacks of the 
Moslem. The power of Spain towered 
high above that of every other monarchy ; 
and this power was wielded with absolute 
authority by the king. The Spanish na- 
tion was united and animated by an in- 
tense, unwavering devotion to the ancient 
faith, which was entwined with all the 
roots of the national life, which was 
Spanish, in fact, far more than it was 
Italian ; and of this spirit Philip the Sec- 
ond was the fitting representative, not 
merely from his position, but from his 
education, his intellect, and his character. 
Therefore it is that the historian of this 
single country and this single reign, stand- 
ing upon a central eminence, must survey 
and depict the whole vast field of which 
we have spoken. 

The materials for such a survey are 
abundant. But down to a very recent 
period, the most valuable and authentic 
portion of them letters of the actors, 



records, written not from hearsay, but 
from personal knowledge, documents of 
various kinds, private and official, thai 
fill up the hiatuses, correct the conjectures, 
establish the credibility, and give a fresh 
meaning to the relations of the earlier 
writers were neglected or concealed, 
inaccessible, unexplored, all but unknown. 
Now these hidden sources have been re- 
vealed. A flood of light streams back 
upon that bygone age, filling every ob- 
scure nook, making legible and plain 
what before could neither be read nor 
understood. Or rather, the effect is such 
as when distant objects, seen dimly and 
confusedly with the naked eye, are brought 
within the range of a powerful telescope, 
which dissolves the seeming masses, and 
enables us to scrutinize each separate 
form. 

Glance for a moment through this in- 
strument, so adjusted as to bear upon a 
figure not undeserving of a closer study. 
Night has fallen on the bleak and sombre 
scenery of the Sierra Guadarrama. The 
gray outlines of the Escorial are scarcely 
distinguishable from those of the dusky 
hills amid which it stands. No light is 
thrown forth from its eleven thousand 
windows, save in this retreating angle 
formed by the junction of the palace with 
the convent, or to speak according to 
the architect's symbolical design of the 
" handle " with the " gridiron." The 
apartment from which this feeble ray 
emerges is of small size, not more than 
sixteen feet square, but having on two 
sides arched recesses that somewhat in- 
crease its capacity. One of these alcoves 
contains a bed, and a door opening into 
an adjoining oratory, which has imme- 
diate communication with the chancel of 
the great church, so that an occupant of 
the bed might, if supported in a sitting 
posture, have a view of the high altar 
and witness the elevation of the host 
This alcove is decked with many little 
images of saints, which, with a few small 
pictures, of rare beauty, the subjects all 
of a religious character, and two cabineta 
of a curious, agate-colored marble, a prod- 
uct of the New "World, are the only or- 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



123 



namcnts that relieve the extreme sim- 
plicity of the apartment, with its plain 
white walls and floor of brick. The other 
alcove is occupied by a writing-table, 
where sits, intent on the employment 
that consumes by far the greater portion 
of his time, the potent monarch of Spain, 
the " most pious and most prudent " 
Philip the Second. A drowsy secretary, 
who waits for the completion of the docu- 
ment which he is to copy, is his only at- 
tendant. 

Does it not seem strange that ambas- 
sadors and nuncios should become con- 
fused and lose all recollection of the ad- 
dresses they had committed to memory, 
in the presence of a prince whose exterior 
BO ill accords with the grandeur of his 
titles and the vastness of his power ? His 
form is below the middle height and very 
slender, the limbs having even an atten- 
uated look. The whole appearance is that 
of a man of delicate and even feeble or- 
ganization. The blonde complexion, the 
pale blue eyes, and the light sandy hue 
save where they are prematurely touched 
witli gray of the hair, moustache, and 
short, pointed beard, all indicate the Flem- 
ish origin of one who would fain be re- 
garded as " wholly a Spaniard." The 
protruding under-jaw is another proof of 
his descent from the Burgundian rulers 
of the Netherlands. The expression of 
the countenance, as we find on a closer 
inspection, is not so easy to define. There 
is no variable play of light and shade 
upon the features, no settled look of joy 
or sorrow, no trace of anger or of weari- 
ness. Is it because the subject with which 
his pen is busied is too unimportant to 
call forth any emotion in the writer ? It 
may be a mere matter of routine, connect- 
ed with the regular business of his house- 
hold or the ordinary affairs of state. But 
if it be an answer to the dispatch from 
Flanders giving information of the out- 
burst of iconoclasm and rebellion, or a 
subtly-conceived plan for the secret exe- 
cution of Montigny or the assassination 
of Escovedo, or an order for the imprison- 
ment or the death of the heir-apparent 
to the throne, you shall perceive nothing 
in that face, unruffled as a mask, by which 
to conjecture the sentiment or purpose of 
the mind. As little will he in the pres- 
ence of others exhibit any signs of agi- 
tation on the reception of extraordinary 



news or the occurrence of some great 
event. The fleet which he sent out un- 
der his brother, John of Austria, in con- 
junction with the Papal and Venetian 
armaments, to decide by a single blow 
the long struggle with the Infidel, all 
Europe awaiting the issue with trembling 
anxiety and suspense, has won a memor- 
able and unexpected victory, and destroy- 
ed forever the prestige of the Moslem 
power. An official, bursting with the 
intelligence, carries it to the king, who 
is hearing a service in his private chapel. 
Without the slightest change of counte- 
nance, Philip desires the priest, whose ear 
the thrilling whisper has reached, and 
who stands open-mouthed, prepared to 
burst forth at once into the Te Deum, to 
proceed with the service ; that ended, he 
orders appropriate thanks x to be offered 
up. 

As in triumph, so in disaster. The 
armada, which had been baptized "Invin- 
cible," is destroyed. The great navy col- 
lected from many states, equipped at the 
cost of an enormous treasure, manned with 
the choicest troops of Spain and her sub- 
ject dominions, lies scattered and wrecked 
along the English shores, which it was 
sent forth to conquer. Again the sym- 
pathies of Europe are excited to the high- 
est pitch. Protestantism triumphs ; Cath- 
olicism despairs. He who had most at 
stake alone preserves his calmness, on 
hearing that all is lost. He neither frowns 
upon his unfortunate generals nor mur- 
murs against Providence. Again he or- 
ders thanks to be offered up, for those 
who have been rescued from the general 
ruin, for those, also, who in this holy en- 
terprise have lost their lives and gained 
eternal glory. 

Neither does any private grief the 
death of children, of a parent, or of a 
wife move him either to real or simu- 
lated agitation.* Nor will intense phys- 
ical suffering overpower this habitual sto- 
icism.* He has seen unmoved the agony 
of many victims. He will himself endure 
the like without any outward manifesta- 
tion of pain. In yonder bed he will one 

* " Sempre appnrisce d' un volto e <!' una 
temperatura medcsima; la qusil cosa a chi, 
considerate gli accident! che gli sono occorsi 
delle morti del figliuoli e delle mogli, ha fatto 
credere che fusse crudele." lltlaz. Anon. 
(1588.) 



124 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



[January, 



day suffer tortures surpassing those to 
which he has so often consigned the here- 
tic and the apostate Morisco ; there he 
will expire amid horrors that scarce ever 
before encompassed a death-bed ; but no 
groan will reveal the weakness of the 
flesh ; the soul, triumphant over nature, 
will bear aloft her colors to the last, and 
plant them on the breach through which 
she passes into the unknown eternity. 

B.ut while we have been thus discours- 
ing, the king has finished his long dis- 
patch, and now hands it to the secretary. 
The latter, having vainly struggled with 
his sleepiness, has at length begun to nod. 
Hearing his name pronounced, he starts 
to his feet, takes the document, which is 
not yet dry, to sand it, and, desirous to 
show by his alertness that he has been all 
the time wide awake, empties over it the 
contents of the inkstand ! Awkward in- 
dividual! there he stands, dumfounded 
and aghast. His master quietly resumes 
his seat, procures fresh materials, and, 
though it is long past midnight, begins 
his task anew with that incomparable pa- 
tience which is " his virtue." 

The perfect equanimity on all occa- 
sions, which was the trait in Philip's 
character that most impressed such of his 
contemporaries as were neither his adher- 
ents nor his enemies, for example, the 
Venetian envoys at his court, was not 
produced by a single stroke of Nature's 
pencil, but had a three-fold origin. In the 
education which, from his earliest years, 
had prepared him for the business of 
reigning, the alpha and the omega of every 
lesson had been the word "dissimula- 
tion." Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare. 
By this maxim it was not intended at 
least, openly or cynically to impress on 
youthful royalty the duty and propriety 
of lying. All it professed to inculcate 
was the necessity of wearing an habitual 
veil before the mind, through which no 
thought or feeling should ever be discern- 
ible. Every politician, in the sixteenth 
century, had learned that lesson. Wil- 
liam of Orange, the best and purest states- 
man of the age, was the greatest of all 
masters in the art of dissimulation. In 
vain might Granvelle strive to pry into 
that bosom, to learn whether its designs 
were friendly or hostile to the plans of 
tyranny. Not till it was extorted by 
events could the secret be discovered. 



In the second place, Philip, as a Span- 
iard, and one whose manners were to 
furnish a model for the Spanish court, 
had, of course, been trained to that de- 
meanor which was regarded in Spain as 
the distinctive mark of high breeding. 
"All the nobles of this court," writes an 
Italian contemporary, " though amazingly 
ignorant and unlettered, maintain a cer- 
tain haughty tranquillity of manner which 
they term sosieyo." Foreigners found it 
difficult to define a quality which differed 
as much from the composure and self- 
possession everywhere characteristic of 
the gentleman as Spartan endurance or 
Stoical apathy from ordinary fortitude or 
self-control. It was a glacier-like repose, 
incrusting a mountain of pride. The 
beams, that gilded, might not thaw it ; 
the storm did but harden and extend it. 
It yielded only to the inner fires of arro- 
gance and passion, bursting through, at 
times, with irrepressible fury. 

These occasional outbreaks were never 
witnessed in Philip.* He was exempted 
from them by the third element which we 

* None of the anecdotes in which Philip is 
represented as giving way to violent bursts 
of anger will bear 'examination. Take, for 
example, the story of his pent-up wrath hav- 
ing exploded against the Prince of Orange, 
when he was quitting the Netherlands ha 
1559. The Prince, it is said, who had accom- 
panied him to the ship, endeavored to con- 
vince him that the opposition to his meas- 
ures, of which he complained, had sprung 
from the Estates; on which the king, seizing 
William's sleeve, and shaking it vehemently, 
exclaimed, " No, not the Estates, but you, 
you, you! " No los Eslados, ma vos, ws, 
vos! using, say the original relator and the 
repeaters of the story, a form of address, the 
second person plural, which in the Spanish 
language is expressive of contempt. Now it 
is true that vos, applied to an equal, would 
have been a solecism; but it is also true that 
it was the invariable form employed by the 
sovereign, even when addressing a grandee 
or a prince of the Church. (See the Papier s 
d'Etat de Granvelle, passim.) Moreover, the 
correspondence of the time shows clearly 
that neither Philip nor Granvelle had as yet 
conceived any deep suspicion of the Prince 
of Orange, much less had any of the parties 
been so imprudent as to throw off the usual 
mask. The story is first told by Auberi, a 
writer of the seventeenth century, who had it 
from his father, to whom it had been told by 
an anonymous eye-witness ! 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



125 



proposed to notice, and which, as nature 
takes precedence of habit, ought perhaps 
to have been the first. A Spaniard by 
birth and education, a Spaniard in his 
sympathies and in his tastes, he had in- 
herited, nevertheless, some of the pecul- 
iarities, intellectual as well as moral, of 
the other race to which by his origin, 
and, as we have already said, by his phys- 
ical characteristics, he belonged. He had 
none of the more pleasing qualities of the 
Netherlander ; but he had the sluggish 
temper, the slow but laborious mind. 
" He is phlegmatic as well from natural 
disposition as from will," remarks an Ital- 
ian contemporary. <; This king," says 
another Venetian minister, "is absolutely 
free from every kind of passion." The 
word " passion " is here used in a strict, 
if not the most correct sense. Philip 
could, perhaps, love ; that he could hate is 
what no one has ever ventured to dispute ; 
but never did either feeling, strong, per- 
sistent, indestructible, though it might be, 
rise in turbulent waves around his soul. 
In religion he was a bigot, not a fanatic. 
"The tranquillity of my dominions and 
the security of my crown," he said, ' rest 
on an unqualified submission in all essen- 
tial points to the authority of the Holy 
See." In the same deliberate and im- 
pressive style, not in that of a wild and 
reckless frenzy, is his famous saying, 
"Better not to reign at all than to reign 
over heretics." His course in all matters 
of government was in conformity with 
the only chart by which he had been 
taught to steer. He boasted that he was 
no innovator, that he did but tread in 
the footsteps of his father. Xor, though 
he ever kept his object steadily in view, 
did he press towards it with undue haste. 
He was content that time should smooth 
away the difficulties in his path. " Time 
and myself against any other two " was 
not the maxim of a man who looked to 
effect great changes or who felt himself 
in danger of being driven from his course 
by the gusts of passion. 

To a person of this character it mattered 
little, as far as the essentials of existence 
were concerned, whether his life were 
passed upon a throne or at an attorney's 
desk. In the latter situation, his fondness 
for using the pen would well have quali- 
fied him for the drudgery, his admirable 
patience would have been sufficiently ex- 



ercised, and the mischief he was able to 
do would have been on a more contracted 
scale. On the throne, his labors, as his ad- 
mirers tell us, were those of " a poor clerk 
earning his bread," while his recreations 
were those of a Jeronymite monk. His 
intercourse with mankind was limited to 
the narrowest range of which his position 
would allow. Even with his ministers 
he preferred to communicate in writing. 
When he went abroad, it was in a carriage 
so constructed as to screen him entirely 
from view, and to shut out the world from 
his observation. He always entered Ma- 
drid after nightfall, and reached his palace 
by streets that were the least frequented. 
He had an equally strong aversion to bod- 
ily exercise. Such was his love of quiet 
and seclusion, that it was commonly be- 
lieved he waited only for ax favorable op- 
portunity to follow the example of his 
father, resign his power and withdraw-to a 
convent.* 

In the volume before us are two chap- 
ters devoted-to the character and personal 
habits of Philip, a picture of his court, his 
method of transacting business, his chief 
advisers, the machinery of his govern- 
ment, and his relations with his subjects. 
As usually happens, it is in details of a 
personal and biographical kmd that the au- 
thor's investigations have been the most 
productive of new discoveries. It is a 
question with some minds, whether such 
details are properly admitted into his- 
tory. The new luminary of moral and 
political science, the Verulam of the nine- 
teenth century, Mr. Henry Buckle, tells 
us that biography forms no part of history, 
that individual character has little or no 
effect in determining the course of the 
world's affairs, and that the historian's 
proper business is to exhibit those general 
laws, discoverable by a strictly scientific 
process of investigation, which act with 
controlling power upon human conduct 
and govern the destinies of our raw. We 
readily admit that the discovery of such 
laws would exceed in importance every 
other having relation to man's present 
sphere of existence ; and we heartily wish 
that Mr. Buckle had made as near an ap- 
proach to the discovery as he confidently 
believes himself to have done. But even 
had he, instead of crude theories, unwar- 

* Relazione (K Pigafetta. 



126 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



[January? 



ranted assumptions, and a most lively but 
fallacious train of reasoning, presented us 
with a grand and solid philosophical work, 
a true Novum Organon, he would still 
have left the department of literature 
which he has so violently assailed in full 
possession of its present field. Our curi- 
osity in regard to the character and habits 
of the men who have played conspicuous 
parts on the stage of history would have 
been not a whit diminished. The interest 
which men feel in the study of human 
character is, perhaps, the most common 
feeling that induces them to read at all. It 
is to gratify that feeling that the great ma- 
jority of books are written. The mutual 
influences of mind upon mind not the 
influences of climate, food, the " aspects 
of Nature," thunder-storms, earthquakes, 
and statistics form, and will ever form, 
the great staple of literature. Mr. Buckle's 
own book would not have been half so en- 
tertaining as it is, if he had not, with the 
most natural inconsistency, plentifully be- 
sprinkled his pages with biographical de- 
tails, some of which are not incorrect. 
Lord Macaulay, whom Mr. Buckle is un- 
able to eulogize with sufficient vehemence 
without a ludicrous as well as irreverent 
application of Scriptural language, is of all 
writers the most profuse in the description 
of individual peculiarities, neatly doing up 
each separate man in a separate parcel with 
an appropriate label, and dismissing half 
his personages, like " ticket-of-leave men," 
with a " character," and nothing more. 

In truth, while the office of the specu- 
lative philosopher is to explore the princi- 
ples that have the widest operation in the 
revolutions of society, the office of the 
historian is to represent society as it actu- 
ally exists at any given period in all its 
various phenomena. The science of history 
has been first invented at least, he tells 
us so by Mr. Buckle. The art of history 
is older than Herodotus, older than Moses, 
older than printed language. It is based, 
like every other art, on certain truths, 
general and special, principles and facts ; 
its process, like that of every other art, is 
the Imagination, the creative principle of 
genius, using these truths as its rules and 
its materials, working by them and upon 
them, applying and idealizing them. That 
there is such a thing as historical art has 
aj.so, we know, been disputed. It is one 
of the exceedingly strong convictions 



he will not allow us to call them opinions 
entertained by the distinguished author 
of "Modern Painters," and expressed by 
him in a lecture delivered at Edinburgh, 
that past ages are to be studied only in the 
records which they have themselves left, 
letters, contemporary memoirs, and the 
like sources. Works built upon these he 
calls " restorations," weak and servile cop- 
ies, from which the spirit of the original 
has fled. He accordingly advises every 
one who would make himself really ac- 
quainted with the manners and events of 
a former period to go at once to the foun- 
tain-head and learn what that period said 
for itself in its own dialect and style. It 
might be sufficient mildly to warn any 
person who thinks of adopting this ad- 
vice, that, unless the field of his intended 
researches be very limited, or the amount 
of time which he proposes to devote to the 
study very great, the result can scarcely 
be of a satisfactory nature. But there is 
another answer to Mr. Ruskin, which has 
more force when addressed to one so re- 
nowned- as a critic and exponent of Art. 
The eye of Genius seizes what escapes 
ordinary observation. The province of 
Art is to reveal Nature, to elucidate her 
obscurities, to present her, not otherwise 
than as she is, but more truthfully and 
more completely than she appears to the 
common eye. Of what use were landscape- 
painting, if it did not teach us how to look 
for beauty in the real landscape ? Who 
has not seen in a good portrait an expres- 
sion which he then for the first time recog- 
nized as that which best represented the 
character of the original ? When we ap- 
plaud the personations of a great actor, 
we exclaim, as the highest praise, " How 
true to Nature ! " We must, therefore, 
have seen before the look and gesture, and 
heard the tone, which we thus acknowl- 
edge as appropriate to the passion and the 
scene. And yet they had never stamped 
themselves upon our minds, when wit- 
nessed in actual life, from which the actor 
himself had copied them, with half that 
force and vividness which they receive 
from his delineation. In like manner, the 
historian one to whom history is a genu- 
ine vocation applies to the facts with 
which he has to deal, to the evidence 
which he has to sift, to the relations which 
he has to peruse, a faculty which shall de- 
tect a meaning where the common reader 



1859.] 



and Literary Notices. 



127 



would find none, which shall conceive a 
whole picture, a complete view, where 
another would see but fragments, which 
shall combine and reproduce in one dis- 
tinct and living image the relics of a past 
age, which lie broken, scattered, and bur- 
ied beneath the mounds of time. Such a 
work lias Niebuhr performed for early 
Roman history, and Michclct for the con- 
fused epochs of mediaeval France. The 
spirit, instead of escaping in the process, 
was for the first time made visible. The 
historian did not merely anatomize the 
body of the Past, but with magic power 
summoned up its ghost. 

It cannot be said that the claims of his- 
tory have ever been disallowed by the 
reading public. There is, indeed, no class 
of literature so secure of receiving the 
attention which it demands. While the 
novelist modestly confines himself to a 
brace of spare duodecimos, and, if his story 
be somewhat extended, endeavors to con- 
ceal its length in the smallness of the 
print, the historian unblushingly presents 
himself with three, six, a dozen, nay, 
if he be a Frenchmah or a German, with 
forty huge tomes, and is more often taken 
to task for his omissions than censured 
for the fulness of his narrative. It is 
respectable to buy his volumes, and re- 
spectable to read them. We don't put 
them away in corners, but give them the 
most conspicuous places on our shelves. 
Strange to say, that kind of reading to 
which we were once driven as to a task, 
which our fathers thought must be useful 
because it was so dull, has of late outstrip- 
ped every other branch in its attractive- 
ness to the mass. Nobody yawns over 
Carlyle ; people set upon Macaulay as if 
quite unconscious that they were about to 
be led into the labyrinths of Whig and 
Tory politics ; and gentlemen whirled 
along in railway-cars bend over the pages 
of Prescott, and pronounce them as fas- 
cinating as any romance. 

Stranger still, these modern historians 
excel their predecessors as much in learn- 
ing and depth of research as in dramatic 
power, artistic arrangement and construc- 
tion, and beauty and picturesqueness of 
style. Compare the meagre array of ref- 
erences in the foot-notes of Watson's " His- 
tory of Philip the Second '' with the multi- 
tude of authorities cited by Mr. Prescott. It 
may be doubted, whether any printed book, 



however rare or little known, which could 
throw the least glimmer of light upon his 
subject, has been overlooked or neglected 
by the last-mentioned author; while thou- 
sands of manuscript pages, gathered from 
libraries and collections in almost every 
part of Europe, have furnished him with 
some of his most curious particulars and 
enabled him to clear up the mystery that 
shrouded many portions of the subject. 

We shall not attempt to determine the 
exact place that ought to be assigned in 
an illustrious brotherhood to our American 
historian. The country is justly proud of 
him, as one whose name is a household 
word in many lands, who has done more, 
perhaps, than any other of her living writ- 
ers, with the exception of Washington 
Irving, to obtain for a still youthful litera- 
ture the regard and attention of the world, 
who has helped to accomplish the pre- 
diction of Horace Walpole, that there 
would one day be " a Thucydides at Bos- 
ton and a Xenophon at New York"; a 
prediction which seemed so fanciful, at the 
time it was made, (less than two years be- 
fore the declaration of Independence,) that 
the prophet was lain to link its fulfilment 
with the contemporaneous visit of a South 
American traveller to the deserted ruins 
of London.* His writings have won fa- 
vor with hosts of readers, and they have 
received the homage of learned and pro- 
found inquirers, like Humboldt and Gui- 
zot. They have merits that are recogniz- 
able at a glance, and they have also merits 
that will bear the closest examination. 
They occupy a field in which they have 
no compeers. They are the, products of 
a fertile soil and of laborious cultivation. 
The mere literary critic, accustomed to 
dwell with even more attention on the 
form than on the substance of a work, 
commends above all the admirable skill 
shown in the selection and grouping of 
the incidents, the facile hand with which 
an obscure and entangled theme is divest- 
ed of its embarrassments, the frequent 
brilliancy and picturesqueness of the nar- 
rative, the judicious mixture of anecdote 
and reflection, and the harmony and clear- 
ness of the style. These are the qualities 
which make Mr. Prescott's histories, with 
all their solid learning and minute re- 
search, as pleasant reading as the airiest 

* Walpole to Mason, Nov. 24, 1774. 



128 



Reviews and Literary Notices, 



[January, 



of novels. And yet not these alone. A 
charm is felt in many a sentence that has 
a deeper origin than in the intellect. No 
egotism obtrudes itself upon our notice; 
but the subtile outflow of a generous and 
candid spirit, of a genial and singtilarly 
healthy nature, wins for the author a se- 
cure place in the affections of his readers. 
The third volume of the "History of 
Philip the Second " is, we think, superior 
to its predecessors. It contains, perhaps, 
no single scene equal in elaborate and 
careful painting to the death of Count 
Egmont. It has no chapter devoted to 
the elucidation of tire darker passages in 
Philip's personal history, like that which 
in a former volume traced to a still doubt- 
ful end the unhappy career of Don Carlos, 
or such as will doubtless, in a future vol- 
ume, shed new light on that of Antonio 
Perez. But there is a more continuous 
interest, arising frfir a greater unity of 
subject. Withrfflre exception of the two 
chapters already referred to, the narrative 
is taken up with the contest waged by the 
Spaniards against those Moslem foes whom 
they hated with the hereditary hate of cen- 
turies, the mingled hate that had grown 
out of diversity of religion, an alien blood, 
and long arrears of vengeance. When 
that contest was waged upon the sea or 
on a foreign soil, it ws at least mitigated 
by the ordinary rules of warfare. But on 
Spanish soil it knew no restraint, no limi- 
tation but the complete effaccment of the 
Moorish population. The story of the 
Morisco Rebellion, which we remember 
to have first read with absorbed attention 
in Dunham's meagre sketch, is here re- 
lated with a fulness of detail that exhausts 
the subject, and leaves the mind informed 
. both of causes and results. Yet the march 
of the narrative is rapid and unchecked, 
from the first outbreak of the revolt, when 
Aben-Farax, with a handful of followers, 
facing the darkness of night and the blind- 
ing snow, penetrated into the streets of 
Granada, shouting the cry so long unheard 
in air that had once been so familiar with 
its sound, " There is no God but Allah, 
and Mahomet is the prophet of God ! " 
through all the strange and terrible vicis- 
situdes of the deadly struggle that ensued, 
the frightful massacres, the wild guerrilla 
battles, the fiery onslaughts of the Span- 
ish, chivalry, the stealthy surprises of the 
Moorish mountaineers, down to the com- 



plete suppression of the insurrection, the 
removal of the defeated race, the over- 
throw and death of Aben-Aboo, " the 
little king of the Alpujarras," and the 
ghastly triumph in which his dead body, 
clothed in the robes of royalty and sup- 
ported upright on a horse, was led into 
the capital where his ancestors had once 
reigned in peaceful splendor, after which 
the head was cut off and set up in a cage 
above the wall, " the face turned towards 
his native hills, which he had loved so 
well." 

On such a theme, and in such localities, 
Mr. Prescott is more at home than any 
other writer, American or European. His 
imagination, kindled by long familiar asso- 
ciations, burns with a steady flame. The 
characters are portrayed with a free and 
vigorous pencil, the contrast between the 
Orientalism of the Spanish Arab and the 
sterner features of the Spanish Goth being 
always strongly marked. The scenery, 
painted with as much fidelity as truth, is 
sometimes brought before the eye by mi- 
nute description, and sometimes, with still 
happier effect, by incidental touches, an 
epithet or a simile, as appropriate as it is 
suggestive. As , we follow the route of 
Mondejar's army, the " frosty peaks " of 
the Sierra Nevada are seen " glistening in 
the sun like palisades of silver " ; while 
terraces, scooped out along the rocky 
mountain-side, are covered with " bright 
patches of variegated culture, that hang 
like a garland round the gaunt Sierra." 
At their removal from Granada, the rem- 
nant of what had once been a race of con- 
querors bid a last farewell to their an- 
cient homes just as "the morning light 
has broken on the red towers of the Al- 
hambra " ; and scattered over the coun- 
try in small and isolated masses, the 
presence of the exiles is " sure to be re- 
vealed by the minute and elaborate cul- 
ture of the soil, as the secret course of 
the mountain-stream is betrayed by the 
brighter green of the meadow." 

We had marked for quotation an admi- 
rable passage, in which our author passes 
judgment on the policy of the Spanish 
government, its cruelty and its mistakes. 
But want of space compels us here to 
take leave of a book which we have not 
pretended to analyze, but to which we 
have rendered sincere, though inadequate, 
praise. 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



129 



The Courtship of Miles Standish. By HEN- 
KY WADSWOKTII LONGFELLOW. Bos- 
ton : Ticknor & Fields. 1858. 

THE introduction and acclimatization of 
the hexameter upon English soil has been 
an affair of more than two centuries. The 
attempt was first systematically made dur- 
ing the reign of Elizabeth, but the metre 
remained a feeble exotic that scarcely bur- 
geoned under glass. Gabriel Harvey, a 
kind of Don Adriano de Armado, whose 
?hief claim to remembrance is, that he was 
the friend of Spenser, boasts that he was 
the first to whom the notion of transplanta- 
tion occurred. In his ''Foure Letters," 
(1592,) he says, " If I never deserve anye 
better remcmbraunce, let mee rather be 
Epitaphecl, the Inventour of the English 
Hexameter, whome learned M. Stanihurst 
imitated in his Virgill, and excellent Sir 
Phillip Sidney disdained not to follow in 
his Arcadia and elsewhere." This claim 
of invention, however, seems to have been 
an afterthought with Harvey, for, in the 
letters which passed between him and 
Spenser in 1579, he speaks of himself 
more modestly as only a collaborator with 
Sidney and others in the good work. The 
Earl of Surrey is said to have been the 
first who wrote thus in English. The most 
successful person, however, was William 
Webb, who translated two of Virgil's Ec- 
logues with a good deal of spirit and har- 
mony. Ascham, in his " Schoolmaster," 
(1570,) had already suggested the adop- 
tion of the ancient hexameter by English 
poets ; but Ascham (as afterwards Putten- 
ham in his "Art of Poesie") thought the 
number of monosyllabic words in English 
an insuperable objection to verse^ in which 
there was a large proportion of dactyles, 
and recommended, therefore, that a trial 
thould be made with iambics. Spenser, 
at Harvey's instance, seems to have tried 
his hand at the new kind of verse. He 
ays, "I like your late Englishe Hex- 
ameters so exceedingly well, that I 
also enure my penne sometimes in that 
kinde. . . . For the onely or chiefest 
hardnesse, whych seemeth, is in the Ac- 
cente, which sometime gapeth, and, as it 
were, yawneth ilfauouredly, coming shorte 
of that it should, and sometime exceeding 
the measure of the Number, as in Carpen- 
ter; the middle sillable being vsed shorte 
in Speache, when it shall be read long in 

VOL. in. 8 a 



Verse, seemeth like a lame Gosling that 
draweth one legge after hir : and Htaven, 
being used shorte as one sillable, when it 
is in Verse stretched out with a Diastole, is 
like a lame dogge that holdes up one legge. 
But it is to be wonne with Custome, and 
rough words must be subdued with Vsc. 
For why a God's name may not we, as 
else the Greekes, have the kingdome of 
our owne Language, and measure our Ac- 
centes by the Sounde, reserving the Quan- 
titie to the Verse?" The amiable Ed- 
monde seems to he smiling in his sleeve 
as he writes this sentence. He instinc- 
tively saw the absurdity of attempting to 
subdue English to misunderstood laws of 
Latin quantities, which would, for exam- 
ple, make the vowel in debt long, in the 
teeth of use and wont. 

We give a specimen of the hexameters 
which satisfied so entirely the ear of Mas- 
ter Gabriel Harvey, an ear that must 
have been long by position, in virtue of 
its place on his" head. 

" Not the like Dlscourser, for Tougue and head- 
to be found out; 

Not the like resolute Man, for great and se- 
rious affayres; 

Not the like Lynx, to spie out secretes and. 
priuities of States; 

Eyed like to Argus, Earde like to Midtu, 
Nosd like to Naso, 

Wingd like to Mercury, fittst of a Thousand 
for to be Employed." 

And here are a few from " worthy M. 
Stanyhurst's " translation of the " ^neid." 

" Laocoon storming from Princelie Castel U 

hastning, 
And a far of beloing: What fond phantas- 

tical harebraine 
Madnesse hath enchaunted your wits, you 

townsmen unhappie ? 
Weene you ( blind hodipecks) the GreekUh 

nauie returned, 
Or that their presents want craft? is subtil 

Vlisses 
So soone forgotten? My life for an haulf- 

pennie (Trojans)," etc. 

Mr. Abraham Fraunce translates two 
verses of Heliodorus thus : 

" Now had fyery Phlegon his dayes rcuolu- 

tion ended, 

And his snoring snowt with salt wauos all 
to bee washed." 

Witty Tom Nash was right enough when 
he called this kind of stuff, " that drunken, 



130 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



[January, 



staggering kinde of verse which is all vp 
hill and downe hill, like the waye betwixt 
Stamford and Beechfeeld, and goes like a 
horse plunging through the myre in the 
deep of winter, now soust up to the saddle, 
and straight aloft on his tiptoes." It will 
be noticed that his prose falls into a kind of 
tipsy hexameter. The attempt in England 
at that time failed, but the controversy to 
which it gave rise was so far useful that it 
called forth Samuel Daniel's " Defence of 
Ryme," (1603,) one of the noblest pieces 
of prose in the language. Hall also, in his 
" Satires," condemned the heresy in some 
verses remarkable for their grave beauty 
and strength. 

The revival of the hexameter in modem 
poetry is due to Johann Heinrich Voss, a 
man of genius, an admirable metrist, and, 
Schlegel's sneer to the contrary notwith- 
standing, hitherto the best translator of Ho- 
mer. His " Odyssey," (1783,) his ' Iliad," 
(1791,) and his "Luise," (1795,) were con- 
fessedly Goethe's teachers in this kind of 
verse. The "Hermann and Dorothea" 
of the latter (1798) was the first true poem 
written in modern hexameters. From 
Germany, Southey imported that and oth- 
er classic metres into England, and we 
should be grateful to him, at least, for 
having given the model for Canning's 
" Knifegrinder." The exotic, however, 
.again refused to take root, and for many 
years after we have no example of Eng- 
lish hexameters. It was universally con- 
ceded that the temper of our language was 
unfriendly to them. 

It remained for a man of true poetic 
genius to make them not only tolerated, 
but popular. Longfellow's translation of 
" The Children of the Lord's Supper " may 
have softened prejudice somewhat, but 
" Evangeline," (1847,) though incumbered 
with too many descriptive irrelevancies, 
was so full of beauty, pathos, and melody, 
that it made converts by thousands to the 
hitherto ridiculed measure. More than 
this, it made Longfellow at once the most 
popular of contemporary English poets. 
Clough's "Bothie" a poem whose singu- 
lar merit has hitherto^ failed of the wide 
appreciation it deserves followed not 
long after ; and Kingsley's " Andromeda " 
is yet damp from the press. 
x While we acknowledge that the victory 
thus won by " Evangeline " is a striking 
; proof of the genius of .the author, we con- 



fess that we have never been able to over- 
come the feeling that the new metre is a 
dangerous and deceitful one. It is too 
easy to write, and too uniform for true 
pleasure in reading. Its ease sometimes 
leads Mr. Longfellow into prose, as in 
the verse 

" Combed and wattled gules and all the rest 
of the blazon," 

and into a prosaic phraseology which has 
now and then infected his style in other 
metres, as where he says 

" Spectral gleam their snow-white dresses" 

using a word as essentially unpoetic as 
surtout or pea-jacket. We tliink one great 
danger of the hexameter is, that it gradu- 
ally accustoms the poet to be content with 
a certain regular recurrence of accented 
sounds, to the neglect of the poetic value 
of language and intensity of phrase. 

But while we frankly avow our infidelity 
as regards the metre, we as frankly con- 
fess our admiration of the high qualities 
of " Miles Standish." In construction we 
think it superior to " Evangeline " ; the 
narrative is more straightforward, and the 
characters are defined with a firmer touch. 
It is a poem of wonderful picturesqueness, 
tenderness, and simplicity, and the situa- 
tions are all conceived with the truest 
artistic feeling. Nothing can be better, to 
our thinking, than the picture of Standish 
and Alden in the opening scene, tinged as 
it is with a delicate humor, which the con- 
trast between the thoughts and characters 
of the two heightens almost to pathos. 
The pictures of Priscilla spinning, and 
the bridal procession, are also masterly. 
We feel charmed to see such exquisite 
imaginations conjured out of the little old 
familiar anecdote of John Alden's vicari- 
ous wooing. We are astonished, like the 
fisherman in the Arabian tale, that so much 
genius could be contained in so small and 
leaden a casket. Those who cannot as- 
sociate sentiment with the fair Priscilla's 
maiden name of Mullins may be consoled 
by hearing that it is only a corruption of 
the Huguenot Desmoulins, as Barnum is 
of the Norman Vernon. 

Indifferent poets comfort themselves 
with the notion that contemporary popu- 
larity is no test of merit, and that true 
poetry must always wait far a new gener- 
ation to do it justice. Th4 theory is not 



1 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



131 



true in any general sense. With hardly 
an exception, the poetry that was ever to 
receive a wide appreciation has received 
it at once. Popularity in itself is no test 
of permanent literary fame, but the kind 
of it is and always has been a very decided 
one. Mr. Longfellow has been greatly 
popular because he so greatly deserved it. 
He has the secret of all the great poets, 
the power of expressing universal senti- 
ments simply and naturally. A false 
standard of criticism has obtained of late, 
which brings a brick as a sample of the 
house, a line or two of condensed expres- 
sion as a gauge of the poem. But it is 
only the whole poem that is a proof of the 
poem, and there are twenty fragmentary 
poets, for one who is capable of simple 
and sustained beauty. Of this quality 
Mr. Longfellow has given repeated and 
striking examples, and those critics are 
strangely mistaken who think that what 
he does is easy to be done, because he has 
the power to make it seem so. We think 
his chief fault is a too great tendency to 
moralize, or rather, a distrust of his read- 
ers, which leads him to point out the moral 
which he wishes to be drawn from any 
special poem. We wish, for example, that 
the last two stanzas could be cut off from 
" The Two Angels," a poem which, with- 
out them, is as perfect as anything in the 
language. 

Man}' of the pieces in this volume hav- 
ing already shone as captain jewels in Ma- 
ga's carcanet, need no comment from us ; 
and we should, perhaps, have avoided the 
delicate responsibility of criticizing one of 
our most precious contributors, had it not 
been that we have seen some very unfair 
attempts to depreciate Mr. Longfellow, 
and that, as it seemed to us, for qualities 
which stamp him as a true and original 
poet. The writer who appeals to more 
peculiar moods of mind, to more complex 
or more esoteric motives of emotion, may 
be a greater favorite with the few ; but he 
whose verse is in sympathy with moods 
that are human and not personal, with 
emotions that do not belong to periods in 
the development of individual minds, but 
to all men in all years, wins the gratitude 
and love of whoever can read the language 
which lie makes musical with solace and 
aspiration. The present volume, while 
it will confirm Mr. Longfellow's claim to 
the high rank he has won among lyric 



poets, deserves attention also as proving 
him to possess that faculty of epic narra- 
tion which is rarer than all others in th 
nineteenth century. In our love of stimu- 
lants, and our numbness of taste, which 
craves the red pepper of a biting vocabu- 
lary, we of the present generation are apt 
' to overlook this almost obsolete and unob- 
trusive quality ; but we doubt if, sinco 
Chaucer, we have had an example of more 
purely objective narrative' than in " The 
Courtship of Miles Standish." Apart from 
its intrinsic beauty, this gives the poem a 
claim to higher and more thoughtful con- 
sideration ; and we feel sure that posterity 
will confirm the verdict of the present in 
regard to a poet whose reputation is due 
to no fleeting fancy, but to an instinctive 
recognition by the public of that which 
charms now and charms always, true 
power and originality, without grimace 
and distortion ; for Apollo, and not Milo, 
is the artistic type of strength. 



Thoughts on the Life and Character ofJesut 
of Nazareth* By W. H. FURNESS, Min- 
ister of the First Congregational Unita- 
rian Church in Philadelphia. Boston : 
Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 1859. 

HERE is a book, written, not for " ortho- 
dox believers," but for those whom the or- 
thodox creeds have wholly repelled from 
its subject. It is quite distinct from three 
other books on the same general theme, 
by the same author. It has, indeed, some 
objects in view, at which neither of those 
books directly aimed. 

It will overwhelm with horror such 
readers as may stumble upon it, who do 
not know, till they meet it, that there 
is any view of Jesus Christ but that 
which is presented in the widely circu- 
lated issues of the Tract Society and sim- 
ilar institutions. Our attention has al- 
ready been called to one very absurd and 
unjust attack upon it, in a Philadelphia 
paper, intended to catch the prejudices of 
such persons. But the views by which 
we found this attack accompanied, in the 
game journal, led us to suspect that some 
political prejudice against the author's anti- 
slavery had more to do with the onslaught 
than any deeply seated love of Orthodox 
Christianity. To another class of read- 
ers, who have been wholly repelled from 



132 



JRev-iews and Literary Notices. 



[January, 



any interest in Jesus Christ, by whatever 
misfortune of temperament or training, 
the careful study of these " Thoughts " 
would be of incalculable value. We sup- 
pose this class of readers, through the 
whole extent of our country, to be quite 
as large as the first class we have named. 
To a third class, which is probably as 
large as both the others put together, who 
are neither repelled nor attracted by the 
received ecclesiastical statements regard- 
ing the Saviour, but are willing to pass, 
without any real inquiry or any firm opin- 
ion, his presence in the world, and his 
influence at this moment on every event 
in modern life, the book might also have 
an immense value, if it could be con- 
ceived that any thunder-clap could wake 
them from that selfish and comfortable in- 
difference as to the central point of all the 
history, philosophy, life, and religion, in 
which they live. 

We have no intention of entering into 
a discussion of the remarkable and very 
clear views presented in this volume. We 
have only to say that the author does not 
do himself justice when Ife asserts that 
there is no system in its arrangement. 
It is a systematic work, leading carefully 
along from point to point in the demon- 
stration attempted. One may read it 
through in an afternoon, and he will then 
have a very clear idea of what the author 
thinks, which does not always happen 
when one has read a book through. If 
he be one of the class of readers for whom 
it was written, he will have, at the very 
least, a deeper interest in the study of the 
life of Jesus of Nazareth than he had 
when he began. He will have read a 
reply to Dr. Strauss, Mr. Parker, Dr. 
Feuerbach, and Mr. Hittel, which, he 
will confess, is written in an appreciative 
and candid spirit, quite different from 
that of some of the ex-cathedra works of 
controversy, which have failed to anni- 
hilate these writers, although they have 
taken so arrogant a tone. As we have 
said, we do not attempt to analyze the 
argument or the statement of which we 
thus speak. We have only to say that 
it is positive, and not negative, con- 
structive, and not destructive, rever- 
ent, and not flippant, courteous to op- 
ponents, and never denunciatory. These 
are characteristics of a work of theology 
of which those can judge who do not af- 



fect to be technical theologians. Had we 
to give our own views of the matters 
presented in so interesting a form, we 
should not, of course, attempt to condense 
our assent or our dissent with the author 
into these columns ; but where we differed 
or where we agreed, we should gladly 
recognize his eagerness to be understood, 
his earnest hope to find the truth, and his 
sympathy with all persons seeking it, 
qualities which we have not always found 
in our study of theologians by profession. 

In making the suggestion, however, that 
these " Thoughts " would be of special 
value to those who have fallen into the 
habit of disbelieving the Gospels^ they 
hardly know why, we know that there 
is no more probability that they will read 
a book with this title than there is that 
young men should read " Letters to Young 
Men," or young women should read " Let- 
ters to Young Women." We suppose that 
the unconverted seldom read " Hints to 
the Unconverted," and that undecided 
fools never read "Foster on Decision of 
Character." Recurring, then, to Mr. Ev- 
erett's story of the Guava jelly, which 
was recommended to invalids, but would 
" not materially injure those who are 
well," we may add to what we have said, 
that all readers of this volume will find 
valuable suggestions in it for the enlight- 
enment of the gospel narratives. Theolo- 
gians who differed fundamentally from 
Dr. Furness have been eager to express 
their sense of the value of his " Jesus and 
his Biographers," as affording some of the 
most vivid and scenic representations in 
all literature of that life which he has 
devoted all his studies to illustrating. It 
does not fall in the way of this book to 
attempt many such illustrations ; but it is 
full of hints which all readers will value 
as lightening up and making fresh their 
notion of Scripture. 

Critically speaking, the most prominent 
fault in the book is the occasional inter- 
polation of matter not connected directly 
with its argument. That argument is 
simply laid out. In the first part is the 
direct plea of the author for the gospel 
narrative as a whole, earnestly and effec- 
tively sustained. The second part ex- 
amines Mr. Theodore Parker's arguments 
against the truth of parts of it. The third 
book discusses other objections. So far as 
this is done from the author's leading point 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



133 



of view, the book is coherent and effective. 
But occasionally there comes in a little 
piece of fanciful criticism on the text, or 
a comment on some side-view or trans- 
action, or the suggestion of a probability 
or a possibility, which remind one of the 
thin puerilities of the commentators whom 
Dr. Furnesa despises more than of the gen- 
eral drift of his own discussion. 



Vernon Grove; or Hearts as they are. A 
Novel. !New York : Rudd & Carleton. 

THIS volume makes a pleasant addition 
to the light reading of the day. It is the 
more welcome as coming from a new field ; 
for we believe that the veil of secrecy with 
regard to its authorship has been so far 
blown aside, that we shall be permitted to 
say, that, although it is written by a lady 
of New England birth, it may be most 
properly claimed as a part of the literature 
of South Carolina. It is a regular novel, 
although a short one. It is an interesting 
story, of marked, but not improbable inci- 
dents, involving a very few well-distin- 
guished characters, who fall into situations 
to display which requires nice analysis of 
the mind and heart, developed in grace- 
ful and flowing narrative, enlivened by 
natural and spirited conversations. The 
atmosphere of the book is one of refined 
taste and high culture. The people in it, 
with scarce an exception, are people who 
mean to be good, and who are handsome, 
polite, accomplished, and rich, or at least 
surrounded by the conveniences and even 
luxuries of life. It is a story, too, for the 
most part, of cultivated enjoyment. There 
are sufferings and sorrows depicted in it, 
it is true ; without them, it would be no 
representation of real life, which it does 
not fail to be. Some tears will undoubt- 
edly be shed over it, but the sufferings and 
sorrows are such that we feel they are, af- 
ter all, leading to happiness ; and we are 
not made to dwell upon pictures of unne- 
cessary misery or unavailing misfortune. 
Let it not be supposed, however, that we 
nre speaking o"f a namby-pamby tale of 
the luxuries and successes of what is 
called " high life," for this book has nothing 
of that character. We mean only to point 
out, as far as we may, without entering 
upon the story itself, that it tells of pleas- 
ant people, in pleasant circumstances, 



among whom it is a pleasure to the read- 
er for a time to be. Many a novel " ends 
well" that keeps us in a shudder or a 
" worry " from the beginning to the end. 
Here we see the enjoyment as we go 
along. Indeed, a leading characteristic 
of " Vernon Grove " is the extremely good 
taste with which it is conceived and writ- 
ten ; and so we no more meet with offen- 
sive descriptions of vulgar show and lux- 
ury than we do with those of squalor or 
moral turpitude. It is a book marked by 
a high tone of moral and religious as well 
as artistic and aesthetic culture. Without 
being made the vehicle of any set theories 
in philosophy or Art, without (so far as we 
know) "inculcating" any special moral 
axiom, it embodies much good teaching 
and suggestion with regard^ to music and 
painting, and many worthy lessons for the 
mind and heart. This is done, as it should 
be, by the apparently natural develop- 
ment of the story itself. For, as we have 
said, the book is really a novel, and will 
be read as a novel should be, for the 
story, and not, in the first instance and 
with deliberation, with the critical desire 
to find out what lessons it teaches or what 
sentiments it inspires. 

The narrative covers a space of several 
years, but is so told that we are furnished 
with details rather than generalities ; and 
particular scenes, events, and conversa- 
tions are set forth vividly and minutely. 
The descriptions of natural scenery, and 
of works of Art, many of which come nat- 
urally into the story, show a cultivated 
and observant eye and a command of 
judicious Language. The characters are 
well developed, and, with an unimportant 
exception, there is nothing introduced into 
the book that is not necessary to the com- 
pletion of the story. " Vernon Grove " 
will commend itself to all readers who 
like works of fiction that arc lively and 
healthy too ; and will give its author a 
high rank among the lady-novelists of our 
day and country. 



Arabian Days' Entertainments. Translated 
from the German, by HERBERT PEL- 
HAM CURTIS. Boston : Phillips, Samp- 
son, & Co. 1858. 

I* this famous nineteenth century of 
ours, which prides itself on being practical, 



134 



Reviews mid Literary Notices. 



[January, 



and feeds voraciously on facts, and consid- 
ers itself almost above being amused, we 
for our part rejoice to greet such a book 
as this. Our great- great-grandfathers, 
when they were boys, were happy in hav- 
ing wise and good grandfathers who told 
them pleasant stories of what never hap- 
pened, and who loved well to tell them, 
because they were truly wise men, and 
knew what the child's mind relished and 
fattened upon, nay, and because, like all 
truly good men, they themselves indulged 
a fond, secret, half-belief that these child's 
stories of theirs were, if the truth could 
be got at, more than half true. We should 
be sorry to believe that this good old life 
of story-telling and story-hearing had ut- 
terly gone out. It belonged to an age 
that only very foolish men and very vul- 
gar men laugh at without blushing. 

" We of the nineteenth century " have 
a certain way of our own, however, of 
enjoying that most rarely fascinating class 
of literary productions known as stories, a 
critical, perhaps over-intellectual, way, 
but still sufficing, it is comfortable to know, 
to keep the story at very near its ancient 
dignity in the realm of letters. Perhaps 
it is a true sign of the perfect story, that 
it ministers at once to these two unsympa- 
thizing mental appetites, and pleases com- 
pletely, not only the man, but his by this 
side ever-so-great-grandfather, the child. 

Everybody thinks first of the " Arabian 
Nights' Entertainments," when we fall 
into such remarks as these, that marvel- 
lous treasure, from which the dreams of 
little boys have been furnished forth, and 
the pages of great scholars gemmed with 
elegant illustration, ever since it was first 
opened to Western eyes. With this book 
the title which Mr. Curtis has so happily 
selected for his translation invites us to 
compare it ; and it is not too much praise 
to say that it ean well stand the compari- 
son, we mean as a selection of stories 
fascinating to old and young. As to the 
matter of translation itself, the versions 
we have of the " Arabian Nights " are no- 
toriously bad. These stories, which Mr. 
Curtis has laid all good children and all 
right-minded grown people under perpet- 
ual obligation by thus collecting and pre- 
senting to them, are the productions of a 
single German writer, and, with the excep- 
tion of three or four separately published 
in magazines, have, we believe, never be- 



fore been translated into English. They 
present some very interesting points of con- 
trast with the ever-famous book of Eastern 
stories, such as open some very tempting 
cross-views of the German and the Eastern 
mind, which, for want of opportunity, we 
must pass by now. 

The scenes of most of them are laid in 
the East, of a few in Germany; but the 
robust method of the German story-writer 
is apparent in each. We wish we could 
quote from one or two which have particu- 
larly charmed us; but though this is im- 
possible within any decent limits, we can 
at least provoke the appetite of readers of 
all ages by the mere displaying of such 
titles as these : " The History of Caliph 
Stork " ; " The Story of the Severed 
Hand " ; " The Story of Little Muck " ; 
"Nosey the Dwarf ; " The Young Eng- 
lishman " ; " The Prophecy of the Silver 
Florin " ; " The Cold Heart," etc. What 
prospects for winter evenings are here ! 
And while we can assure the adult reader 
that the promise which these titles give of 
burlesque or humorous description, and 
bold, romantic narrative, shall be more 
than kept, it may be well also to say, for 
the comfort of those whom we hope to se 
buy the book for their children's sake, 
that the stories in it are entirely free from 
certain objections which may be fairly 
urged against the " Arabian Nights " as 
reading for young people. The " Arabian 
Days " have nothing to be ashamed of in 
the nature of their entertainments. 

The translation itself is a performance 
in a high degree creditable, not only to tli 
German, but to the English, scholarship of 
Mr. Curtis. We perceive scarcely any of 
that peculiar stiffness of style which makes 
so many otherwise excellent translations 
painful to read, the stiffness as of one 
walking in new boots, the result of dress- 
ing the words of one language in the gram- 
matical construction of another. Mr. Curtis 
gives us the sentiment and wit and fancy 
and humor and oddity of the German's 
stories, but in an English way. Indeed, 
his is manly and graceful English, such as 
we hope we are not now -by any means 
seeing the last of. 

To the right sort of reader, as we con- 
sider him, of the " Arabian Days," a 
word about the pictures (for observe, that 
the proper name for the illustrations of a 
story-book is pictures) may be fitly spoken. 



1859.] 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



135 



There are no less than sixteen very nice 
pictures to this story-book, well done, 
even for Mr. Hoppin, artistically, and well 
conceived for the refreshing of the inner 
eye of him, her, or it that reads. And we 
must be permitted, also, who have read 
this book by candle-light, as only such a 
book should be read, to congratulate the 
readers who come after us upon the good 
type and good paper in which the publish- 
ers have very properly produced it. 

We hope and believe this publication will 
before long be given as a boon to the rising 
generation, our second-cousins, across the 
water. They, however, cannot have it (as 
we fully intend that certain small bodies, 
but huge feeders on fiction, among our ac- 
quaintance, shall have it) on Christmas 
morning, the dear old festival, that, as 
we write, is already near enough to warm 
our hearts with anticipation. 



The Stratford Gallery: or the Shakspeare 
Sisterhood. Comprising Forty-five Ideal 
Portraits, described by HENRIETTA LEE 
PALMER. Illustrated. New York : I). 
Appleton & Co. 

THIS book is what it purports to be, 
not a collection of elaborate essays de- 
voted to metaphysical analysis or to con- 
jectural emendations of doubtful lines, 
but a series of ideal portraits of the 
women of Shakspeare's plays. The read- 
er may fancy himself led by an intelli- 
gent cicerone who pauses before each 
picture and with well-chosen words tells 
enough of the story to present the heroine, 
and then gives her ' own conception of the 
character, with such hints concerning man- 
ners and personal peculiarities as a careful 
study of the play may furnish. The nar- 
rations are models of neatness and brevity, 
yet full enough to give a clear understand- 
ing of the situation to any one unacquainted 
with it. The creations of Shakspeare have 
a wonderful completeness and vitality ; and 
yet the elements of character are often 
mingled so subtilely that the sharpest crit- 
ics differ widely in their estimates. Noth- 
ing can be more fascinating than to follow 
closely the great dramatist, picking out 
from the dialogue a trait of form here, a 
whim of color there, and at last combining 
them into an harmonious whole, with the 
truth of outline, hue, and bearing pre- 



served. Often as this has been done, there 
is room still for new observers, provided 
they bring their own eyes to the task, and 
do not depend upon the dim and warped 
lenses of the commentators. 

It is very rarely that we meet with so 
fresh, so acute, and so entertaining a stu- 
dent of Shakspeare as the author of this 
volume. Her observations, whether in- 
variably just or not, are generally taken 
from a new stand-point. She is led to her 
conclusions rather by instinct than by rea- 
son. She makes no apology for her judg- 
ments. 

" I have no reason but a woman's reason ; 
I think her so because I think her so." 

And it would not be strange, if womanly 
instinct were to prove oftentimes a truer 
guide in following the waywardness or 
the apparent contradictions of a woman's 
nature than the cold logical processes of 
merely intellectual men. 

To the heroines who are most truly 
women the author's loyalty is pure and in- 
tense. Imogen, the " chaste, ardent, de- 
voted, beautiful " wife, Juliet, whose 
" ingenuousness and almost infantile sim- 
plicity " endear her to all hearts, Miran- 
da, that most ethereal creation, type of 
virgin innocence, Cordelia, with her 
pure, filial devotion, are painted with 
loving, sympathetic tenderness. 

Altogether, this is a book which any ad- 
mirer of the poet may read with pleasure ; 
and especially to those who have not ven- 
tured to think wholly for themselves it 
will prove a most useful and agreeable 
companion. 

It is a matter of regret that the charac- 
ters of the greatest of dramatists should 
not have been embodied by the greatest of 
painters. But no Michel Angelo, or Ra- 
phael, or Correggio, has illustrated these 
wonderful creations ; and the man who is 
capable of appreciating Miranda, or Ophe- 
lia, or Desdemona, finds the ideal heads 
of the painters, of our day at least, tame, 
vapid, and unsatisfactory. The heroine, 
as imaged in his mind, is arrayed in a love- 
liness which limner never compassed. We 
cannot promise our readers that th& en- 
gravings in this beautifully printed and 
richly bound volume will prove to be ex- 
ceptions to the usual rule. They are from 
designs by Kngli.-h nrtists, "Eminent 
Hands," in the popular phrase ; the faces 



136 



Reviews and Literary Notices. 



[January. 



are often quite striking and expressive, 
and, up to a certain point, characteristic ; 
moreover, they are smoothly finished, and 
will compare favorably with those in fash- 
ionable gift-books. Without being in the 
least degree examples of a high style of 
Art in its absolute sense, they answer well 
the purpose for which they were designed. 
Indeed, if they were more truly ideal, and, 
at the same time, more truly human, they 
would doubtless be far less popular. 



Ernest Carroll, or Artist-Life in Italy. A 
Novel, in Three Parts. Boston : Ticknor 
& Fields. 1858. 

THIS book is not strictly of the kind 
which the Germans call the Art-Novel, 
and yet we know not how else to class it. 
The author has spun a somewhat improb- 
able story as the thread for his reflections 
on Art and his reminiscences of artists 
and travel. We confess that we should 
have liked it better, had he made his book 
simply a record of experience and reflec- 
tion. But there are many admirable things 
in this little volume, which is evidently 
the work of a person of refined artistic 
culture and clear intelligence. Of especial 
value we reckon the reminiscences of All- 
ston and his methods ; and it seems a little 
singular, since the scene is laid chiefly 
in Florence and in 1847, that we get noth- 
ing more satisfactory than a single anec- 
dote about the elder Greenough, whose 
life and works and thoroughly emancipat- 
ed style of thought have done more to 
honor American Art than those of any 
other man, except Allston. 

We the rather regret that the author had 
not made his book more of a journal, and 
recorded directly his own impressions, be- 
cause he shows a decided ability in bring- 
ing scenes before the eye of the reader. 
The sketches of Doney's Caffe and the 
Venetian improvvisatore are especially viv- 
id ; so is that of the old picture-dealer ; 
though in all we think some of the phrases 
might have been softened with advantage. 
We enter our earnest protest also against 
the Ruskin-chapter. The scenes at Grae- 
fenberg are fresh, lively, and interesting. 
The book is also enlivened by many en- 
tertaining anecdotes of living American 



artists and savans, which are told with the 
skill of a practised raconteur. We hope to 
hear from the author again, and in a form 
which shall enable his knowledge and ex- 
perience in matters of Art to have freer 
play than the exigencies of a novel allow 
them, and in which his abilities in the dis- 
cussion of aesthetics shall have more scope 
given them than that of the obiter dicta in 
a story. 



Hymns of the Ages. Being Selections from 
the Lyra Catholica, Apostolica, Ger- 
manica, and other Sources, with an In- 
troduction by PROF. F. D. HUNTING- 
TON. Boston : Phillips, Sampson, & 
Co. 1859. Square 8vo. pp. 300. 

IN this exquisitely-printed volume the 
editors have collected specimens of the 
devotional poetry of the Christian Church, 
including translations from the Roman 
Breviary, as well as from German hymns, 
with a few from English sources. There 
has been no attempt, evidently, to conform 
to the requirements of any creed ; the de- 
vout Catholic, as well as the Episcopalian 
Churchman, will find here the favorite 
aspirations, penitential strains, and ascrip- 
tions of praise, which have been consecrat- 
ed by generations of worshippers. To 
American readers the collection will be 
substantially new, since hardly a dozen of 
the hymns are to be found in the volumes 
in use in our churches. If it had been 
the purpose of the editors to gather all the 
classic religious poetry, to form a sacred 
anthology, it would have been necessary 
to print a great number of the hymns in 
modern collections ; and the volume would 
in that case have lost in novelty what it 
gained in completeness. 

Those who like to go back to the ancient 
forms of worship for inspiration, who feel 
the force of association in the lyrics which 
have come down from almost apostolic 
times, will find in this book an aid to de- 
votion and religious contemplation. With 
a little more care in excluding strongly- 
marked doctrinal stanzas, the " Hymns of 
the Ages," if less characteristic, would 
have been more truly catholic, and there- 
fore acceptable to a larger portion of th 
Church Universal. 



/^ j ZU^ 



THE 



ATLANTIC MONTHLY, 



A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS. 



VOL. III. FEBRUARY, 1859. NO. XVI. 



OUGHT WOMEN TO LEARN THE ALPHABET?- 



PARIS smiled, for an hour or two, in 
the year 1801, when, amidst Napoleon's 
mighty projects for remodelling the re- 
ligion and government of his empire, the 
ironical satirist, Sylvain Marechal, thrust 
in his " Plan for a Law prohibiting the 
Alphabet to Women." Daring, keen, 
sarcastic, learned, the little tract retains 
to-day so much of its pungency, that we 
can hardly wonder at the honest simplic- 
ity of the author's friend and biographer, 
Madame Gacon Dufour, who declared 
that he must be partially insane, and 
proceeded to prove herself so by reply- 
ing to him. His proposed statute consists 
of eighty-two clauses, and is fortified by 
a " whereas" of a hundred and thirteen 
weighty reasons. He exhausts the range 
of history to show the frightful results 
which have followed this taste' of the 
fruit of the tree of knowledge ; quotes 
the Encyclopedic, to prove that the wom- 
tfn who knows the alphabet has already 
lost a portion of her innocence ; cites the 
opinion of Moliere, that any female who 
has unhappily learned anything in this 
line should affect ignorance, when pos- 
sible ; asserts that knowledge rarely 
makes men attractive, and females never ; 
opines that women have no occasion to 
peruse Ovid's " Art of Love," since they 

VOL. in. 5) 



know it all in advance ; remarks that 
three-quarters of female authors are no 
better than they should be ; maintains 
that Madame Guion would have been 
far more useful, had she been merely 
pretty and an ignoramus, such as Nature 
made her, that Ruth and Naomi could 
not read, and Boaz probably would nev- 
er have married into the family, had they 
possessed that accomplishment, that the 
Spartan women did not know the alpha- 
bet, nor the Amazons, nor Penelope, nor 
Andromache, nor Lucretia, nor Joan of 
Arc, nor Petrarch's Laura, nor the daugh- 
ters of Charlemagne, nor the three hun- 
dred and sixty-five wives of Mohammed ; 
but that Sappho and Madame de Main- 
tenon could read altogether too well, 
while the case of Saint Brigitta, who 
brought forth twelve children and twelve 

O 

books, was clearly exceptional, and af- 
forded no safe precedent. 

We take it, that the brilliant French- 
man has touched the root of the matter. 
Ought women to learn the alphabet? 
There the whole question lies. Concede 
this little fulcrum, and Aivliimedea wilt 
move the world before she has done with 
it ; it becomes merely a question of time. 
K'-istance must be made here or no- 
where. O&s/a principiis. Woman must 



138 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



be a subject or an equal ; there is no 
middle ground. What if the Chinese 
proverb should turn out to be, after all, 
the summit of wisdom, " For men, to 
cultivate virtue is knowledge ; for wom- 
en, to renounce knowledge is virtue " ? 

No doubt, the progress of events is 
slow, like the working of the laws of grav- 
itation generally. Certainly, there has 
been but little change in the legal posi- 
tion of woman since China was in its 
prime, until within the last dozen years. 
Lawyers admit that the fundamental the- 
ory of English and Oriental law is the 
same on this point : Man and wife are 
one, and that one is the husband. It is 
the oldest of legal traditions. When 
Blackstone declares that " the very being 
and existence of the woman is suspended 
during the marriage," and American 
Kent echoes that " her legal existence 
and authority are in a manner, lost," 
when Petersdorff asserts that " the hus- 
band has the right of imposing such cor- 
poreal restraints as he may deem neces- 
sary," and Bacon that " the husband 
hath, by law, power and dominion over 
his wife, and may keep her by force with- 
in the bounds of duty, and may beat her, 
but not in a violent or cruel manner," * 

* It may be well to fortify this point by a 
racy extract from that rare and amusing old 
book, the pioneer of it's class, entitled " The 
Lawes Resolutions of Women's Rights, or the 
Lawes Provision for Women. A Methodicall 
Collection of such Statutes and Customes, with 
the Cases, Opinions, Arguments, and Points 
of Learning in the Law as doe properly con- 
cern Women." London: A. D. 1632. pp. 404. 
4to. The pithy sentences lose immeasurably, 
however, by being removed from their orig- 
inal black-letter setting. 

" Lib. II I. Sect. V1L The Baron may beate 
his Wife. 

" The rest followeth, Justice Brooke 12. H. 8. 
fo. 4. affirmeth plainly, that if a man beat an 
out-law, a traitor, a Pagan, his villein, or his 
wife, it is dispunishable, because by the Law 
Common these persons can haue no action: 
God send Gentle-women better sport, or bet- 
ter companie. 

" But it seemeth to be very true, that there 
is some kind of castigation which Law per- 
mits a Husband to vse; for if a woman be 
threatned by her husband to bee beaten, mis- 



when Mr. Justice Coleridge rules that 
the husband, in certain cases, " has a 
right to confine his wife in his own dwell- 
ing-house and restrain her from liberty 
for an indefinite time," and Baron Alder- 
son sums it all up tersely, " The wife is 
only the servant of her husband," these 
high authorities simply reaffirm the dog- 
ma of the Gentoo code, four thousand 
years old and more : " A man, both day 
and night, must keep his wife so much in 
subjection that she by no means be mis- 
tress of her own actions. If the wife have 
her own free will, notwithstanding she 
be of a superior caste, she will behave 
amiss." 

Yet behind these unchanging institu- 
tions, a pressure has been for centuries 
becoming concentrated, which, now that 
it has begun to act, is threatening to over- 
throw them all. It has not yet operated 
very visibly in the Old World, where 
(even in England) the majority of wom- 
en have not yet mastered the alphabet, 
and can not sign their own names in the 
marriage-register. But in this country, 

chieued, or slaine, Fitzherbert sets doune a 
Writ which she may sve out of Chancery to 
compell him to finde surety of honest belia- 
uiour toward her, and that he shall neither 
doe nor procure to be done to her (marke I 
pray you) any bodily damage, otherwise then 
appertaines to the office of a Husband for law- 
full and reasonable correction. See for this 
the new Nat. bre. fo. 80 f. & fo. 238 f. 

" How farre that extendeth I cannot tell, 
but herein the sexe feminine is at no very 
great disaduantage : for first for the lawful- 
nesse; If it be in no other regard lawfull to 
beat a man's wife, then because the poore 
wench can sve no other action for it, I pray 
why may not the Wife beat the Husband 
againe, what action can he haue if she doe: 
where two tenants in Common be on a horse, 
and one them will trauell and vse this horse, 
hee may keepo.it from his Companion a yeare 
two or three and so be euen with him ; so the 
actionlesse woman beaten by her Husband, 
hath retaliation left to beate him againe, if she 
dare. If he come to the Chancery or Justices 
in the Country of the peace against her, be- 
cause her recognizance alone will hardly bee 
taken, he were best be bound for her, and 
then if he be beaten the second time, let him 
know the price of it on God's name." 






1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



139 



the vast changes of the last twelve years 
are already a matter of history. No trum- 
pet has been sounded, no earthquake felt, 
while State after State has ushered into 
legal existence one half of the population 
within its borders. Every Free State in 
the American Union, except perhaps Illi- 
nois and New Jersey, has conceded to 
married women, in some form, the sepa- 
rate control of property. Maine, Massa- 
chusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania 
have gone farther, and given them the 
control of their own earnings, given it 
wholly and directly, that is, while New 
York and other States have given it par- 
tially or indirectly. Legislative commit/- 
tees in Ohio and Wisconsin have recom- 
mended, in printed reports, the extension 
of the right of suffrage to women ; Ken- 
tucky (like Canada) has actually extend- 
ed it, in certain educational matters, and 
a Massachusetts legislative committee has 
suggested the same thing ; while the Kan- 
sas Constitutional Convention came with- 
in a dozen votes of extending it without 
reserve, and expunging the word male 
from the Constitution. Surely, here and 
now, might poor M. Mare"chal exclaim, 
The bitter fruits of the original seed ap- 
pear, and the sad question recurs, wheth- 
er women ought ever to have tasted of 
the alphabet 

Mr. Everett, perhaps without due cau- 
tion, advocated, last summer, the affirma- 
tive of this question. With his accus- 
tomed eloquence, he urged on the atten- 
tion of Suleiman Bey the fact of the equal 
participation of the sexes in the public- 
school system of Boston, while omitting to 
explain to him that the equality is of very 
recent standing. No doubt, the eminent 
Oriental would have been pleased to 
hear that this public administration of 
the alphabet to females, on any terms, is 
an institution but little more than a half- 
century old in the city of Boston. It is 
well established by the early deeds and 
documents that a large proportion of 
Puritan women could not write their 
own names ; and in Boston especially, 
for a hundred and fifty years, the public 
schools included boys only. * In the year 



1 789, however, the notable discovery was 
made, that the average attendance of pu- 
pils from April to October was only one 
half of that reported for the remainder of 
the year. This was an obvious waste of 
money and accommodations, and it was 
therefore proposed that female pupils 
should be annually introduced during 
this intermediate period. Accordingly, 
school-girls, like other flowers, blossomed 
in summer only ; and this state of things 
lasted, with but slight modification, for 
some forty years, according to the School- 
Superintendent's Third Report. It was 
not till 1828 that all distinctions were 
abolished in the Boston Common Schools ; 
in the High Schools lingering far later, 
sole vestige of the " good old times," be- 
fore a mistaken economy overthrew the 
wholesome doctrine of M. Sylvain Mare- 
chal, and let loose the alphabet among 
women. 

It is true that Eve ruined us all, ac- 
cording to theology, without knowing her 
letters. Still, there is something to be 
said in defence of that venerable ances- 
tress. The Veronese lady, Isotta Noga- 
rola, five hundred and thirty-six of whose 
learned letters were preserved by De 
Thou, composed a dialogue on the ques- 
tion, Whether Adam or Eve had com- 
mitted the greater sin ? But Ludovico 
Domenichi, in his " Dialogue on the No- 
bleness of Women," maintains that Eve 
did not sin at all, because she was not 
even created when Adam was told not 
to eat the apple. It is " in Adam all 
died," he shrewdly says ; nobody died in 
Eve ; which looks plausible. Be that 
as it may, Eve's daughters are in danger 
of swallowing a whole harvest of forbid- 
den fruit, in these revolutionary days, 
unless something be done to cut off tin- 
supply. 

It has been seriously asserted that dur- 
ing the last half-century more books have 
been written by women and about wom- 
en than during all the previous uncount- 
ed ages. It may be true ; although, when 
we think of the innumerable volumes of 
Mtmoires by Frenchwomen of the seven 
teenth and eighteenth centuries, each 



140 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



one justifying the existence of her own 
ten volumes by the remark, that all her 
contemporaries were writing as many, 
we have our doubts. As to the increased 
multitude of general treatises on the fe- 
male sex, however, its education, life, 
health, diseases, charms, dress, deeds, 
sphere, rights, wrongs, work, wages, en- 
croachments, and idiosyncrasies general- 
ly, there can be no doubt whatever; 
and the poorest of these books recognizes 
a condition of public sentiment which no 
other age ever dreamed of. Still, liter- 
ary history preserves the names of some 
reformers before the Reformation, in this 
matter. There was Signora Moderata 
Fonte, the Venetian, who left a book to 
be published after her death, in 1592, 
" Dei Meriti delle Donne." There was 
her townswoman, Lucrezia Marinella, 
who followed ten years after, with her 
essay, " La Nobilita e la Eccelenza delle 
Donne, con Difetti e Mancamenti degli 
Domini," a comprehensive theme, truly ! 
Then followed the all-accomplished Anna 
Maria Sehurman, in 1645, with her "Dis- 
sertatio de Ingenii Muliebris ad Doctri- 
nam et meliores Literas Aptitudine," with 
a few miscellaneous letters appended, -in 
Greek and Hebrew. At last came boldly 
Jacquctte Guillaume, in 1665, and threAV 
down the gauntlet in her title-page, " Les 
Dames Illustres ; ou par bonnes et fortes 
Raisons il se prouve que le Sexe Feminin 
surpasse en toute Sorte de Genre le Sexe 
Masculin " ; and with her came Margaret 
Boufflet and a host of others ; and finally, 
in England, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose 
famous book, formidable in its day, would 
seem rather conservative now, and in 
America, that pious and worthy dame, 
Mrs. H. Mather Crocker, Cotton Math- 
er's grandchild, who, in 1818, publish- 
ed the first book on the " Rights of Wom- 
an " ever written on this side the Atlan- 
tic. 

Meanwhile there have never been 
wanting men, and strong men, to echo 
these appeals. From Cornelius Agrippa 
and his essay (1509) on the excellence 
of woman and her preeminence over 
down to the first vouthful thesis of 



Agassiz, " Mens Feminaj Viri Animo su- 
perior," there has been a succession of 
voices crying in the wilderness. In Eng- 
land, Anthony Gibson wrote a book, in 
1599, called "A Woman's Woorth, de- 
fended against all the Men in the World, 
proouing them to be more Perfect, Excel- 
lent, and Absolute in all Vertuous Ac- 
tions than any Man of what Qualitie so- 
ever, Interlarded with Poetry." Per con- 
tra, the learned Acidalius published a 
book in Latin and afterwards in French, 
to prove that women are not reasonable 
creatures. Modern theologians are at 
worst merely sub-acid, and do not always 
say so, if they think so. Meanwhile most 
persons have been content to leave the 
world to go on its old course, in this mat- 
ter as in others, and have thus acquiesced 
in that stern judicial decree, with which 
Timon of Athens sums up all his curses 
upon womankind, " If there sit twelve 
women at the table, let a dozen of them 
be as they are." 

Ancient or modern, nothing in any of 
these discussions is so valuable as the fact 
of the discussion itself. There is no dis- 
cussion where there is no wrong. Noth- 
ing so indicates wrong as this morbid self- 
inspection. The complaints are a per- 
petual protest, the defences a perpet- 
ual confession. It is too late to ignore 
the question, and once opened, it can 
be settled only on absolute and perma- 
nent principles. There is a wrong ; but 
where ? Does woman already know too 
much, or too little ? Was she created 
for man's subject, or his equal ? Shall 
she have the alphabet, or not ? 

Ancient mythology, which undertook 
to explain everything, easily accounted 
for the social and political disabilities of 
woman. Goguet quotes the story from 
St. Augustine, who got it from Varro. 
Cecrops, building Athens, saw starting 
from the earth an olive-plant and a foun- 
tain, side by side. The Delphic oracle 
said, that this indicated a strife between 
Minerva and Neptune for the honor of 
giving a name to the city, and that the 
people must decide between them. Ce- 
crops thereupon assembled the men, and 



1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



141 



the women also, who then had a right to 
vote ; and the result was that Minerva 
carried the election by a glorious ma- 
jority of one. Then Attica was over- 
flowed and laid waste ; of course the 
citizens attributed the calamity to Nep- 
tune, and resolved to punish the wom- 
en. It was therefore determined that 
in future they should not vote, nor 
should any child bear the name of its 
mother. 

Thus easily did mythology explain all 
troublesome inconsistencies. But it is 
much that it should even have recognized 
them, at so early an epoch, as needing 
explanation. When we ask for a less 
symbolical elucidation, it lies within our 
reach. At least, it is not hard to take 
the first steps into the mystery. There 
are, to be sure, some flowers of rhetoric 
in the way. The obstacle to the partici- 
pation of woman in the alphabet, or in 
any other privilege, has been thought by 
some to be the fear of impairing her 
delicacy, or of destroying her domestici- 
ty, or of confounding the distinction be- 
tween the sexes. We think otherwise. 
These have been plausible excuses ; they 
have even been genuine, though minor, 
anxieties. But the whole thing, we take 
it, had always one simple, intelligible 
basis, sheer contempt for the supposed 
intellectual inferiority of woman. She 
was not to be taught, because she was not 
worth teaching. The learned Acidalius, 
aforesaid, was in the majority. According 
to Aristotle and the Peripatetics, woman 
was animal occasionattim, as if a sort 
of monster and accidental production. 
Mediaeval councils, charitably asserting 
her claims to the rank of humanity, still 
pronounced her unfit for instruction. In 
the Hindoo dramas, she did not even 
speak the same language with her master, 
but used the dialect of slaves. When, in 
the sixteenth century, Fran<joise de Sain- 
tonges wished to establish girls' schools in 
France, she was hooted in the streets, 
and her father called together four doc- 
tors, learned in the law, to decide wheth- 
er she was not possessed by demons, to 
think of educating women, pour s'as- 



surer qu'instruire des ftmmes n'e'lait pas 
tin ceuvre du dimon. 

It was the same with political rights. The 
foundation of the Salic Law was not any 
sentimental anxiety to guard female del- 
icacy and domesticity ; it wa., as stated 
by Froissart, a blunt, hearty contempt: 
" The kingdom of France being too noble 
to be ruled by a woman." And the same 
principle was reaffirmed for our own in- 
stitutions, in rather softened language, 
by Theophilus Parsons, in his famous de- 
fence of the rights of Massachusetts men 
(the "Essex Result," in 1778): "Wom- 
en, what age soever they are of, are not 
considered as having a sufficient acquired 
discretion [to exercise tlie franchise]." 
In harmony with this are the various 
maxims and bon mot* of eminent men, in 
respect to women. Niebuhr thought he 
should not have educated a girl well, 
he should have made her know too much. 
Lessing said, " The woman who thinks 
is like the man who puts on rouge, ridic- 
ulous." Voltaire said, " Ideas are like 
beards; women and young men have 
none." And witty Dr. Maginn carries to 
its extreme the atrocity : " We l!ke to 
hear a few words of sense from a woman, 
as we do from a parrot, because they are 
so unexpected." Yet how can we won- 
der at these opinions, when the saints 
have been severer than the sages ? since 
the pious Fenelon taught that true virgin 
delicacy was almost as incompatible with 
learning as with vice, and Dr. Channing 
complained, in his " Essay on Exclusion 
and Denunciation," of " women forgetting 
the tenderness of their sex " and arguing 
on theology. 

Now this impression of feminine inferi- 
ority may be right or wrong, but it obvi- 
ously does a good deal towards explain- 
ing the facts it takes for granted. If 
contempt does not originally cause fail- 
ure, it perpetuates it. Systematically dis- 
courage any individual or class, from 
birth to death, and they learn, in nine 
cases out of ten, to acquiesce in their 
degradation, if not to claim it as a crown 
of glory. If the Abbe Choisi praised the 
Dachesse de Fontanges for being "beau- 



142 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



tiful as an angel and silly as a goose," it 
was natural that all the young ladies of 
the court should resolve to make up in 
folly what they wanted in charms. All 
generations of women having been bred 
under the shadow of intellectual con- 
tempt, they have of course done much to 
justify it. They have often used only for 
frivolous purposes even the poor oppor- 
tunities allowed them. They have em- 
ployed the alphabet, as Moliere said, 
chiefly in spelling the verb Amo. Their 
use of science has been like that of Mile, 
de Launay, who computed the decline 
in her lover's affection by his abbrevia- 
tion of their evening walk in the public 
square, preferring to cross it rather than 
take the circuit, " From which I infer- 
red," she says, " that his passion had di- 
minished in the ratio between the diago- 
nal of a rectangular parallelogram and 
the sum of two adjacent sides." And 
their conception, even of Art, has been 
too often on the scale of Properzia de 
Rossi, who carved sixty-five heads on a 
walnut, the smallest of all recorded sym- 
bols of woman's sphere. 

Alt this might perhaps be overcome, 
if the social prejudice which discourages 
woman would only reward proportion- 
ately those who surmount the discourage- 
ment. The more obstacles the more 
glory, if society would only pay in pro- 
portion to the labor ; but it does not. 
Women, being denied not merely the 
antecedent training which prepares for 
great deeds, but the subsequent praise 
and compensation which follow them, 
have been weakened in both directions. 
The career of eminent men ordinarily 
begins with -colleges and the memories 
of Miltiades, and ends with fortune and 
fame ; woman begins under discourage- 
ment, and ends beneath the same. Sin- 
gle, she works with half-preparation and 
half-pay ; married, she puts name and 
wages into the keeping of her husband, 
shrinks into John Smith's " lady " during 
life, and John Smith's, " relict " on her 
tombstone ; and still the world wonders 
that her deeds, like her opportunities, are 
inferior. 



Evidently, then, the advocates of wom- 
an's claims those who hold that "the 
virtues of the man and the woman are 
the same," with Antisthenes, or that 
" the talent of the man and the wom- 
an is the same," with Socrates in Xeno- 
phon's "Banquet" must be cautious lest 
they attempt to prove too much. Of 
course, if women know as much as men 
without schools and colleges, there is no 
need of admitting them to these institu- 
tions. If they work as well on half-pay, 
it diminishes the inducement to give them 
the other half. The safer position is, to 
claim that they have done just enough to 
show what they might have done under 
circumstances less' discouraging. Take, 
for instance, the common remai-k, that 
women have invented nothing. It is a 
valid answer, that the only tools habit- 
ually needed by woman have been the 
needle, the spindle, and the basket, and 
tradition reports that she herself invent- 
ed all three. In the same way it may be 
shown that the departments in which 
women have equalled men have been 
the departments in which they have had 
equal training, equal encouragement, and 
equal compensation, as, for instance, 
the theatre. Madame Lagrange, iheprima 
donna, after years of costly musical in- 
struction, wins the zenith of professional 
success ; she receives, the newspapers af- 
firm, sixty thousand dollars a year, trav- 
elling-expenses for ten persons, coun- 
try-houses, stables, and liveries, besides 
an uncounted revenue of bracelets, bou- 
quets, and billet-doux. Of course, every 
young debutante fancies the same thing 
within her own reach, with only a brief 
stage-vista between. On the stage there 
is no deduction for sex, and therefore 
woman has shown in that sphere an 
equal genius. But every female com- 
mon-school teacher in the United States 
finds the enjoyment of her two hundred 
dollars a year to be secretly embittered 
by the knowledge that the young college- 
stripling in the next school-room is paid 
a thousand dollars for work no hai-der 
or more responsible than her own, and 
that, too, after the whole pathway of edu- 






1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet? 



143 



cation has been obstructed for her and 
smoothed for him. These may be gross 
and carnal considerations ; but Faith asks 
her daily bread, and Fancy must be fed. 
We deny woman her fair share of train- 
ing, of encouragement, of remuneration, 
and then talk fine nonsense about her 
instincts and her intuitions, say senti- 
mentally, with the Oriental proverbialist, 
" Every book of knowledge is implanted 
by nature in the heart of woman," and 
make the compliment a substitute for the 
alphabet 

Nothing can be more absurd than to 
impose entirely distinct standards, in this 
respect, on the two sexes, or to expect 
that woman, any more than man, will 
accomplish anything great without due 
preparation and adequate stimulus. Mrs. 
Patten, who navigated her husband's ship 
from Cape Horn to California, would 
have failed in the effort, for all her hero- 
ism, if she had not, unlike most of her 
sex, been taught to use her Bowditch. 
Florence Nightingale, when she heard of 
the distresses in the Crimea, did not, as 
most people imagine, rise up and say, 
" I am a woman, ignorant, but intui- 
tive, with very little sense or information, 
but exceedingly sublime aspirations ; my 
strength lies in my weakness ; I can 
do all things without knowing anything 
about them." Not at all. During ten 
years she had been in hard training for 
precisely such services, had visited all 
the hospitals in London, Edinburgh, Dub- 
lin, Paris, Lyons, Rome, Brussels, and 
Berlin, had studied under the Sisters of 
Charity, and been twice a nurse in the 
Protestant Institution at Kaiserswerth. 
Therefore she did not merely carry to 
the Crimea a woman's heart, as her 
stock in trade, but she knew the alpha- 
bet of her profession better than the 
men around her. Of course, genius 
and enthusiasm are, for both sexes, ele- 
ments unforeseen and incalculable ; but, 
as a general rule, great achievements 
imply great preparations and favorable 
conditions. ( 

To disregard this truth is unreason- 
able in the abstract and cruel in its 



consequences. If an extraordinary male 
gymnast can clear a height of ten feet 
with the aid of a spring-board, it would 
be considered slightly absurd to ask a 
woman to leap eleven feet without one ; 
yet this is precisely what society and the 
critics have always done. Training and 
wages and social approbation are very 
elastic spring-boards, and the whole 
course of history has seen these offer- 
ed bounteously to one sex and as sed- 
ulously withheld from the other. Let 
woman consent to be a doll, and there 
was no finery so gorgeous, no baby- 
house so costly, but she might aspire to 
share its lavish delights; let her ask 
simply for an equal chance to learn, to 
labor, and to live, and it was as if that 
same doll should open its lips, and pro- 
pound Euclid's forty-seventh proposi- 
tion. While we have all deplored the 
helpless position of indigent women, and 
lamented that they had no alternative 
beyond the needle, the wash-tub, the 
school-room, and the street, we have yet 
resisted their admission into every new 
occupation, denied them training, and 
cut their compensation down. Like 
Charles Lamb, who atoned for coming 
late to the office in the morning by 
going away early in the afternoon, we 
have, first, half educated women, and 
then, to restore the balance, only half 
paid them. What innumerable obsta- 
cles have been placed in the way of 
female physicians ! what a complicatioa 
of difficulties has been encountered by 
female printers, engravers, and design- 
ers! In London, Mr. Bennett was re- 
cently mobbed for lecturing to women 
on watchmaking. In this country, we 
have known grave professors to refuse 
to address lyceums which thought fit to 
employ an occasional female lecturer. 
Mr. Comer states that it was " in the 
face of ridicule and sneers " that he be- 
gan to educate women as book-keepers, 
eight years ago ; and it is a little con- 
temptible in the authoress of "A Wom- 
an's Thoughts on Women " to revive the 
same satire now, when she must know 
that in one half the retail shops in Paris 



144 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



her own sex rules the ledger, and Mam- 
mon knows no Salic law. 

We find, on investigation, what these 
considerations would lead us to expect, 
that eminent women have commonly been 
more exceptional in their training and 
position than even in their genius. They 
have excelled the average of their own 
sex because they have had more of the 
ordinary advantages of the other sex. 
Take any department of learning or 
skill ; take, for instance, the knowledge 
of languages, the universal alphabet, 
philology. On the great stairway, at 
Padua, stands the statue of Elena Cor- 
naro, professor of six languages in that 
once renowned university. But Elena 
Cornaro was educated like a boy, by 
her father. On the great door of the 
University of Bologna is inscribed the 
epitaph of Clotilda Tambroni, the hon- 
ored correspondent of Person, and the 
first Greek scholar of Southern Europe 
in her day. But Clotilda Tambroni 
was educated like a boy, by Emanuele 
Aponte. How fine are those prefatory 
words, " by a Right Reverend Prelate," 
to that pioneer book in Anglo-Sax- 
on lore, Elizabeth Elstob's grammar : 
" Our earthly possessions are indeed 
our patrimony, as derived to us by the 
industry of our fathers ; but the lan- 
guage in which we speak is our mother- 
tongue, and who so proper to play the 
critic in this as the females ? " But this 
particular female obtained the rudiments 
of her rare education from her mother, 
before she was eight years old, in spite 
of much opposition from her right rev- 
erend guardians. Adelung, the highest 
authority, declares that all modern phi- 
lology is founded on the translation of a, 
Russian vocabulary into two hundred 
different dialects by Catherine II. But' 
Catherine shared, in childhood, the in- 
structors of her brother, Prince Freder- 
ick, and was subject to some reproach 
for learning, though a girl, so much more 
rapidly than he did. Christina of Swe- 
den ironically reproved Madame Dacier 
for her translation of Callimachus : " Such 
a pretty girl as you are, are you not 



ashamed to be so learned ? " But Mad- 
ame Dacier acquired Greek by contriv- 
ing to do her embroidery in the room 
where her father was teaching her stu- 
pid brother ; and her queenly critic had 
learned to read Thucydides, harder 
Greek than Callimachus, before she was 
fourteen. And so down to our own day, 
who knows how many mute, inglorious 
Minervas may have perished unenlight- 
ened, while Margaret Fuller and Eliz- 
abeth Barrett Browning were being edu- 
cated " like boys " V 

This expression simply means that 
they had the most solid training which 
the times afforded. Most persons would 
instantly take alarm at the very words ; 
that is, they have so little faith in tho 
distinctions which Nature has establish- 
ed, that they think, if you teach the 
alphabet, or -anything else, indiscrimi- 
nately to both sexes, you annul all 
difference between them. The com- 
mon reasoning is thus : " Boys and girla 
are acknowledged to be distinct beings. 
Now boys study Greek and algebra, 
medicine and book-keeping. Therefore 
girls should not." As if one should say : 
" Boys and girls are distinct beings. 
Now boys eat beef and potatoes. There- 
fore, obviously, girls should not." 

The analogy between physical and 
spiritual food is precisely in point. The 
simple truth is, that, amid the vast range 
of human powers and properties, the 
fact of sex is but one item. Vital and 
momentous in itself, it does not consti- 
tute the whole organism, but only a 
small part of it. The distinction of 
male and female is special, aimed at a 
certain end ; and apart from that end, 
it is, throughout all the kingdoms of 
Nature, of minor importance. With but 
trifling exceptions, from infusorial up to 
man, the female animal moves, breathes, 
looks, listens, runs, flies, swims, pursues 
its food, eats it, digests it, in precisely 
the same manner as the male; all in- 
stincte, all characteristics, are the same, 
except as to the one solitary fact of par- 
entage. Mr. Ten Broeck's race-horses, 
Pryor and Prioress, were foaled alike, fed 



1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet? 



145 



alike, trained alike, and finally ran side 
by side, competing for the same prize. 
The eagle is not checked in soaring 
by any consciousness of sex, nor asks 
the sex of the timid hare, its quarry. 
Nature, for high purposes, creates and 
guards the sexual distinction, but keeps 
it humbly subordinate to still more im- 
portant ones. 

Now all this bears directly upon the 
alphabet. What sort of philosophy is 
that which says, " John is a fool ; Jane 
is a genius ; nevertheless, John, being a 
man, shall learn, lead, make laws, make 
money ; Jane, being a woman, shall be 
ignorant, dependent, disfranchised, under- 
paid." Of course, the time is past when 
one would state this so frankly, though 
Comte comes quite near it, to say noth- 
ing of the Mormons ; but this formula 
really lies at the bottom of the reason- 
ing one hears every day. The answer 
is : Soul before sex. Give an equal 
chance, and let genius and industry do 
the rest. La carriere ouverle aux talens. 
Every man for himself, every woman for 
herself, and the alphabet for us all. 

Thus far, our whole course of argu- 
ment has been defensive and explanato- 
ry. We have shown that woman's in- 
feriority in special achievements, so far 
as it exists, is a fact of small importance, 
because it is merely a corollary from her 
historic position of degradation. She has 
not excelled, because she has had no fair 
chance to excel. Man, placing his foot 
upon her shoulder, has taunted her with 
not rising. But the ulterior question re- 
mains behind, How came she into this 
attitude, originally ? Explain the ex- 
planation, the logician fairly demands. 
Granted that woman is weak because 
she has been systematically degraded ; 
but why was she degraded ? This is a 
far deeper question, one to be met only 
by a profounder philosophy and a posi- 
tive solution. We are coming on ground 
almost wholly untrod, and must do the 
best we can. 

We venture to assert, then, that wom- 
an's social inferiority, in the past, has 
been, to a great extent, a legitimate 



thing. To all appearance, history woulu 
have been impossible without it, just as 
it would have been impossible without 
an epoch of war and slavery. It is 
simply a matter of social progress, a 
part of the succession of civilizations. 
The past has been, and inevitably, a 
period of ignorance, of engrossing phys- 
ical necessities, and of brute force, 
not of freedom, of philanthropy, and of 
culture. During that lower epoch, wom- 
an was necessarily an interior, degrad- 
ed by abject labor, even in time of peace, 
degraded uniformly by war, chivalry 
to the contrary notwithstanding. Be- 
hind all the courtesies of Amadis and 
the Cid lay the stern fact, woman a 
child or a toy. The flattening trouba- 
dours chanted her into a poet's paradise; 
but, alas ! that kingdom of heaven suffer- 
ed violence, and the violent took it by 
force. The truth simply was, that her 
time had not come. Physical strength 
must rule for a time, and she was the 
weaker. She was very properly refused 
a feudal grant, because, say " Les Cous- 
tumes dc Normandie," she is not trained 
to war or policy : C'eat Vhomme ki se 
bant et ki conseUle. Other authorities 
put it still more plainly : " A woman can- 
not serve the emperor or feudal lord in 
war, on account of the decorum of her 
sex ; nor assist him with advice, because 
of her limited intellect; nor keep his coun- 
sel, owing to the infirmity of her disposi- 
tion." All which was, no doubt, in the 
majority of cases, true, and the degrada- 
tion of woman was simply a part of a 
system, which has indeed had its day, but 
has bequeathed its associations. 

From this reign of force woman never 
freed herself by force. She could not 
fight, or would not. Bohemian annals, 
indeed, record the legend of a literal war 
between the sexes, in which the wom- 
en's army was led by Libussa and Wlas- 
la, and which finally ended with the cap- 
ture, by the army of men, of Castle 
Dziewin, Maiden's Tower, whose ruins 
are still visible near Prague. The ar- 
mor of Libussa is still shown at Vienna, 
and the guide calls attention to the long- 



146 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



peaked toes of steel, with which, he avers, 
the tender Princess was wont to pierce 
the hearts of her opponents, while career- 
ing through the battle. And there are 
abundant instances in which women have 
fought side by side with men, and on 
equal terms. The ancient British women 
mingled in the wars of their husbands, 
and their princesses were trained to the 
use of arms in the Maiden's Castle at 
Edinburgh and in the Isle of Skye. The 
Moorish wives and maidens fought in de- 
fence of their European peninsula; and 
the Portuguese women fought, on the 
same soil, against the armies of Philip II. 
The king of Siatn has at present a body- 
guard of four hundred women ; they are 
armed with lance and rifle, are admirably 
disciplined, and their commander (ap- 
pointed after saving the king's life at a 
tiger-hunt) ranks as one of the royal fam- 
ily and has ten elephants at her service. 
When the all-conquering Dahomian army 
inai'ched upon Abbeokuta, in 1851, they 
numbered ten thousand men and six 
thousand women ; the women were, as 
usual, placed foremost in the assault, as 
being most reliable ; and of the eighteen 
hundred bodies left dead before the walls, 
the vast majority were of women. The 
Hospital of the Invalides, in Paris, has 
sheltered, for half a century, a fine speci- 
men of a female soldier, " Lieutenant 
Madame Bulan," now eighty-three years 
old, decorated by Napoleon's own hand 
with the cross of the Legion of Honor, 
and credited on the hospital-books with 
"seven years' service, seven campaigns, 
three wounds, several times distin- 
guished, especially in Corsica, in defend- 
ing a fort against the English." But these 
cases, though interesting to the historian, 
are still exceptional, and the instinctive 
repugnance they inspire js condemna- 
tory, not of women, but of war. 

The reason, then, for the long subjec- 
tion of woman has been simply that hu- 
manity was passing through its first epoch, 
and her full career was to be reserved 
for the second. As the different races 
of man have appeared successively upon 
the stage of history, so there has been an 



order of succession of the sexes. Wom- 
an's appointed era, like that of the Scan- 
dinavian tribes, was delayed, but not 
omitted. It is not merely true that the 
empire of the past has belonged to man, 
but that it has properly belonged to him ; 
for it was an empire of the muscles, en- 
listing at best but the lower powers of the 
understanding. There can be no ques- 
tion that the present epoch is initiating 
an empire of the higher reason, of arts, 
affections, aspirations ; and for that epoch 
the genius of woman has been reserved. 
The spirit of the age has always kept 
pace with the facts, and outstripped the 
statutes. Till the fulness of time came, 
woman was necessarily kept a slave to 
the spinning-wheel and the needle ; now 
higher work is ready, peace has brought 
invention to her aid, and the mechanical 
means for her emancipation are ready 
also. No use in releasing her, till man, 
with his strong arm, had worked out his 
preliminary share in civilization. " Earth 
waits for her queen" was a favorite 
motto of Margaret Fuller's ; but it would 
be more correct to say that the queen 
has waited for her earth, till it could be 
smoothed and prepared for her occupan- 
cy. Now Cinderella may begin to think 
of putting on her royal robes. 

Everybody sees that the times are 
altering the whole material position of 
woman ; but most persons do not appear 
to see the inevitable social and moral 
changes which are also involved. As 
has been already said, the woman of an- 
cient history was a slave to physical ne- 
cessities, both in war and peace. In war 
she could do too little, in peace she did 
too much, under the material compulsions 
which controlled the world. How could 
the Jews, for instance, elevate woman ? 
They could not spare her from the wool 
and the flax and the candle that goeth 
not out by night. In Home, when the 
bride first stepped across her threshold, 
they did not ask her, Do you know the 
alphabet ? they asked simply, Can you 
spin ? There was no higher epitaph 
than Queen Amalasontha's, Domnm 
scrvavit, lanam fecit. In Bceotia, brides 



1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



147 



were conducted home in vehicles whoso 
wheels were burned at the door, in token 
that they were never to leave the house 
again. Pythagoras instituted at Crotona 
an annual festival for the distaff; Con- 
fucius, in China, did the same for the 
spindle ; and these celebrated not the 
freedom, but the serfdom, of woman. 

And even into modern days this same 
tyrannical necessity has lingered. " Go 
spin, you jades ! go spin ! " was the only 
answer vouchsafed by the Earl of Pem- 
broke to the twice-banished nuns of Wil- 
ton. And even now, travellers agree 
that throughout civilized Europe, with 
the partial exception of England and 
France, the profound absorption of the 
mass of women in household labors ren- 
ders their general elevation impossible. 
But with us Americans, and in this age, 
when all these vast labors are being more 
and more transferred to arms of brass and 
iron, when Rochester grinds the flour, 
and Lowell weaves the cloth, and the 
fire on the hearth has gone into black re- 
tirement and mourning, when the wiser 
a virgin is, the less she has to do with oil 
in her lamp, when the needle has made 
its last dying speech and confession in 
the " Song of the Shirt," and the sew- 
ing-machine has changed those doleful 
marches to delightful measures, how is 
it possible for the blindest to help seeing 
that a new era is begun, and that the 
time has come for woman to learn the 
alphabet ? 

Nobody asks for any abolition of do- 
mestic labor for women, any more than 
of outdoor labor for men. Of course, 
most women will still continue to be 
mainly occupied with the indoor care of 
their families, and most men with their 
external support. All that is desirable 
for either sex is such an economy of la- 
bor, in this respect, as shall leave some 
spare time, to be appropriated in other 
directions. The argument against each 
new emancipation of woman is precisely 
that always made against the liberation of 
serfs and the enfranchisement of plebei- 
ans, that the new position will take them 
from their legitimate business. " How 



can he [or she] get wisdom that holdeth 
the plough, [or the broom,] whose talk 
is of bullocks [or of babies] ? " Yet the 
American fanner has already emancipat- 
ed himself from these fancied incompati- 
bilities, and so will the farmer's wife. In 
a nation where there is no leisure-class 
and no peasantry, this whole theory of 
exclusion is an absurdity. We all have 
a little leisure, and we must all make the 
most of it. If we will confine large in- 
terests and duties to those who have noth- 
ing else to do, we must go back to mon- 
archy at once ; if otherwise, then the 
alphabet, and its consequences, must be 
open to woman as to man. Jean Paul 
says nobly, in his " Levana," that, " before 
and after being a mother, a woman is a 
human being, and neither maternal nor 
conjugal relation can supersede the hu- 
man responsibility, but must become its 
means and instrument." And it is good 
to read the manly speech, on this subject, 
of John Quincy Adams, quoted at length 
by his recent venerable biographer, in 
which, after fully defending the political 
petitions of the women of Plymouth, he de- 
clares that " the correct principle is, that 
women are not only justified, but exhibit 
the most exalted virtue, when they do de- 
part from the domestic circle, and enter 
on the concerns of their country, of hu- 
manity, and of their God." 

There are duties devolving on every 
human being, duties not small or few, 
but vast and varied, which spring from 
home and private life, and all their sweet 
relations. The support or care of the 
humblest household is a function worthy 
of men, women, and angels, so far as it 
goes. From these duties none must 
shrink, neither man nor woman; the 
loftiest genius cannot ignore them ; the 
sublimest charity must begin with them. 
They are their own exceeding great re- 
ward, their self-sacrifice is infinite joy, 
and the selfishness which discards them 
receives in return loneliness and a deso- 
late old age. Yet these, though the most 
tender and intimate portion of human 
life, do not form its whole. It is given to 
noble souls to crave other interests also, 



148 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



[February, 



added spheres, not necessarily alien from 
these, larger knowledge, larger action 
also, duties, responsibilities, anxieties, 
dangers, all the aliment that history has 
given to its heroes. Not home less, but 
humanity more. When the high-born 
English lady in the Crimean hospital, 
ordered to a post of almost certain death, 
only raised her hands to heaven and said, 
" Thank God ! " she did not renounce her 
true position as woman, she claimed it 
When the queen of James I. of Scot- 
land, already immortalized by him in 
stately verse, won a higher immortality 
by welcoming to her fair bosom the dag- 
gers aimed at his, when the Countess of 
Buchan hung confined in her iron cage, 
outside Berwick Castle, in penalty for 
crowning Robert the Bruce, when the 
stainless soul of Joan of Arc met God, 
like Moses, in a burning flame, these 
things were as they should be. Man 
must not monopolize these privileges of 
peril, birthright of great souls. Sere- 
nades and compliments must not replace 
the nobler hospitality which shares with 
woman the opportunity of martyrdom. 
Great administrative duties also, cares 
of state, for which one should be born 
gray-headed, how nobly do these sit upon 
a female brow ! Each year adds to the 
storied renown of Elizabeth of England, 
greatest sovereign of the greatest of his- 
toric nations. Christina of Sweden, alone 
among the crowned heads of Europe, (so 
says Voltaire,) sustained the dignity of 
the throne against Richelieu and Ma- 
zarin. And they most assuredly did not 
sacrifice their womanhood in the pro- 
cess ; for her Britannic Majesty's ward- 
robe included four thousand gowns, and 
Mile, de Montpensier declares, that, when 
Christina had put on a wig of the latest 
fashion, " she really looked extremely 
pretty." Should this evidence of femi- 
nine attributes appear to some sterner 
intellects frivolous and insufficient, it is, 
nevertheless, adapted to the level of the 
style of argument it answers. 

Les races sc feminisent, said Buffon, 
" The world is growing more feminine." 
It is a compliment, whether the naturalist 



intended it or not. Time has brought 
peace ; peace, invention ; and the poorest 
woman of to-day is born to an inheri- 
tance such as her ancestors never dream- 
ed of. Previous attempts to confer on 
women social and political equality, as 
when Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
made them magistrates, or when the 
Hungarian revolutionists made them vot- 
ers, or when our own New Jersey tried 
the same experiment, in a guarded fash- 
ion, in early times, and then revoked 
the privilege, because (as in the ancient 
fable) the women voted the wrong way, 
these things were premature, and val- 
uable only as concessions to a supposed 
principle. But in view of the rapid 
changes now going on, he is a rash man 
who asserts the " Woman Question " to 
be anything but a mere question of time. 
The fulcrum has been already given, 
in the alphabet, and we must simply 
watch and see whether the earth does 
not move. 

In this present treatment of the sub- 
ject, we have been more anxious to 
assert broad principles than to work 
them out into the details of their appli- 
cation. We only point out the plain 
fact : woman must be either a subject or 
an equal ; there is no other permanent 
ground. Every concession to a supposed 
principle only involves the necessity of 
the next concession for which that prin- 
ciple calls. Once yield the alphabet, 
and we abandon the whole long theory 
of subjection and coverture ; the past is 
set aside, and we have nothing but ab- 
stractions to fall back upon. Reasoning 
abstractly, it must be admitted that the 
argument has been, thus far, entirely on 
the women's side, inasmuch as no man 
has yet seriously tried to meet them 
with argument. It is an alarming fea- 
ture of this discussion, that it has re- 
versed, very generally, the traditional 
positions of the sexes : the women have 
had all the logic ; and the most intelli- 
gent men, when they have attempted 
the other side, have limited themselves 
to satire and gossip. What rational 
woman, we ask, can be convinced by 



1859.] 



Ought Women to learn the Alphabet ? 



149 



the nonsense which is talked in ordinary- 
society around her, as, that it is right 
to admit girls to common schools, and 
equally right to exclude them from col- 
leges, that it is proper for a woman to 
sing in public, but indelicate for her to 
speak in public, that a post-office box 
is an unexceptionable place to drop a bit 
of paper into, but a ballot-box terribly 
dangerous ? No cause in the world can 
keep above water, sustained by such 
contradictions as these, too feeble and 
slight to be dignified by the name of 
fallacies. Some persons profess to think 
it impossible to reason with a woman, 
and they certainly show no disposition 
to try the experiment. 

But we must remember that all our 
American institutions are based on con- 
sistency, or on nothing; all claim to be 
founded on the principles of natural 
right, and when they quit those, they 
are lost. In all European monarchies, 
it is the theory, that the mass of the 
people are children, to be governed, not 
mature beings, to govern themselves. 
This is clearly stated, and consistently ap- 
plied. In the free states of this Union, 
we have formally abandoned this theory 
for one half of the human race, while 
for the other half it still flourishes in full 
force. The moment the claims of wom- 
an are broached, the democrat becomes 
a monarchist. What Americans com- 
monly criticize in English statesmen, 
namely, that they habitually evade all 
arguments based on natural right, and 
defend every legal wrong on the ground 
that it works well in practice, is the pre- 
cise characteristic of our habitual view 
of woman. The pei-plexity must be 
resolved somehow. We seldom meet 
a legislator who pretends to deny that 
strict adherence to our own principles 
would place both sexes in precisely 
equal positions before law and consti- 
tution, as well as in school and society. 
But each has his special quibble to ap- 
ply, showing that in this case we must 
abandon all the general maxims to which 
we have pledged ourselves, and hold 
only by precedent. Nay, he construes 



even precedent with the most ingenious 
rigor ; since the exclusion of women from 
all direct contact with affairs can be 
made far more perfect in a republic than 
is possible in a monarchy, where even 
sex is merged in rank, and the female 
patrician may have far more power than 
the male plebeian. But, as matters now 
stand among us, there is no aristocracy 
but of sex : all men are born patrician, 
all women are legally plebeian ; all men 
are equal in having political power, and 
all women in having none. This is a 
paradox so evident, and such an anom- 
aly in human progress, that it cannot 
last forever, without new discoveries in 
logic, or else a deliberate return to 
M. Marechal's theory concerning the al- 
phabet. 

Meanwhile, as the newspapers say, we 
anxiously await further developments. 
According to present appearances, the 
final adjustment lies mainly in the hands 
of women themselves. Men can hardly 
be expected to concede either rights or 
privileges more rapidly than they are 
claimed, or to be truer to women than 
women are to each other. True, the 
worst effect of a condition of inferiority 
is the weakness it leaves behind it ; even 
when we say, " Hands off! " the sufferer 
does not rise. In such a case, there is 
but one counsel worth giving. More 
depends on determination than even 
on ability. Will, not talent, governs 
the world. From what pathway of emi- 
nence were women more traditionally 
excluded than from the art of sculpture, 
in spite of Non me Praxiteles fecit, sed 
Anna Darner? yet Harriet Hosmer, 
in eight years, has trod its full ascent 
Who believed that a poetess could ever 
be more than an Annot Lyle of the harp, 
to soothe with sweet melodies the leisure 
of her lord, until in Elizabeth Barrett's 
hands the thing became a trumpet ? 
Where are gone the sneers with whirh 
army surgeons and parliamentary ora- 
tors opposed Mr. Sidiu-y Herbert's first 
proposition to send Florence Nightin- 
gale to the Crimea ? In how many 
towns has the current of popular preju- 



150 



The Morning Street. 



[February, 



dice against female orators been re- 
versed by one winning speech from 
Lucy Stone ! Where no logic can pre- 
vail, success silences. First give wom- 
an, if you dare, the alphabet, then sum- 
mon her to her career ; and though men, 
ignorant and prejudiced, may oppose its 



beginnings!, there is no danger but they 
will at last fling around her conquering 
footsteps more lavish praises than ever 
greeted the opera's idol, more per- 
fumed flowers than ever wooed, with 
intoxicating fragrance, the fairest but- 
terfly of the ball-room. 



THE MORNING STREET. 

I WALK alone the Morning Street, 
Filled with the silence strange and sweet : 
All seems as lone, as still, as dead, 
As if unnumbered years had fled, 
Letting the noisy Babel be 
Without a breath, a memory. 
The light wind walks with me, alone, 
Where the hot day like flame was blown ; 
Where the wheels roared and dust was beat, 
The dew is in the Morning Street. 

Where are the restless throngs that pour 
Along this mighty corridor 
While the noon flames ? the hurrying crowd 
Whose footsteps make the city loud ? 
The myriad faces ? hearts that beat 
No more in the deserted street ? 
Those footsteps, in their dream-land maze, 
Cross thresholds of forgotten days ; 
Those faces brighten from the years 
In morning suns long set in tears ; 
Those hearts far in the Past they beat 
Are singing in their Morning Street. 

A city 'gainst the world's gray Prime, 
Lost in some desert, far from Time, 
Where noiseless Ages, gliding through, 
Have only sifted sands and dew, 
Were not more lone to one who first 
Upon its giant silence burst, 
Than this strange quiet, where the tide 
Of life, upheaved on either side, 
Hangs trembling, ready soon to beat 
W T ith human waves the Morning Street. 

Ay, soon the glowing morning flood 
Pours through this charmed solitude ; 



In a Cellar. 



151 



All silent now, this Memnon-stone 
Will murmur to the rising sun ; 
The busy life this vein shall beat, 
The rush of wheels, the swarm of feet ; 
The Arachne-threads of Purpose stream 
Unseen within the morning gleam ; 
The Life will move, the Death be plain ; 
The bridal throng, the funeral train, 
Together in the crowd will meet, 
And pass along the Morning Street. 



IN A CELLAR. 



I. 

IT was the day of Madame de St. 
Cyr's dinner, an event I never missed ; 
for, the mistress of a mansion in the Fau- 
bourg St. Germain, there still lingered 
about her the exquisite grace and good- 
breeding peculiar to the old regime, that 
insensibly communicates itself to the 
guests till they move in an atmosphere 
of ease that constitutes the charm of 
home. One was always sure of meeting 
desirable and well-assorted people here, 
and a contre-temps was impossible. More- 
over, the house was not at the command 
of all ; and Madame de St. Cyr, with the 
daring strtngth which, when found in a 
woman at all, should, to be endurable, 
be combined with a sweet but firm re- 
straint, rode rough-shod over the parve- 
nus of the Empire, and was resolute 
enough to insulate herself even among 
the old noblesse, who, as all the world 
knows, insulate themselves from the rest 
of France. There were rare qualities in 
this woman, and were I to have selected 
one who with an even hand should car- 
ry a snuffy candle through a magazine 
of powder, my choice would have de- 
volved upon her; and she would have 
done it. 

I often looked, and not unsuccessfully, 



to discern what heritage her daughter 
had in these little affairs. Indeed, to one 
like myself Delphine presented the wor- 
thier study. She wanted the airy charm 
of manner, the suavity and tenderness of 
her mother, a deficiency easily to be 
pardoned in one of such delicate and ex- 
traordinary beauty. And perhaps her 
face was the truest index of her mind ; 
not that it ever transparently displayed 
a genuine emotion, Delphine was too 
well-bred for that, but the outline of 
her features had a keen, regular precis- 
ion, as if cut in a gem. Her exquisite 
color seldom varied, her eyes were like 
blue steel, she was statue-like and stony. 
But had one paused there, pronouncing 
her hard and impassive, he had commit- 
ted an error. She had no great capabil- 
ity for passion, but she was not to be de- 
ceivefl; one metallic flash of her eye 
would cut like a sword through the 
whole mesh of entanglements with which 
you had surrounded her ; and frequently, 
when alone with her, you perceived cool 
recesses in her nature, sparkling and 
pleasant, which jealously guarded them- 
selves from a nearer approach. She was 
infinitely spirituelle ; compared to her, 
Madame herself was heavy. 

At the first I had seen that Delphine 
must be the wife of a diplomate. What 



152 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



diplomate ? For a time asking myself the 
question seriously, I decided in the nega- 
tive, which did not, however, prevent 
Delphine from fulfilling her destiny, since 
there were others. She was, after all, like 
a draught of rich old wine, all fire and 
sweetness. These things were not gen- 
erally seen in her ; I was more favored 
than many; and I looked at her with 
pitiless perspicacious eyes. Nevertheless, 
I had not the least advantage ; it was, 
in fact, between us, diamond cut dia- 
mond, which, oddly enough, brings me 
back to my story. 

Some years previously, I had been 
sent on a special mission to the govern- 
ment at Paris, and having finally execut- 
ed it, I resigned the post, and resolved 
to make my residence there, since it is 
the only place on earth where one can 
live. Every morning I half expect to 
see the country, beyond the city, white 
with an encampment of the nations, who, 
having peacefully flocked there over 
night, wait till the Rue St. Honore" shall 
run out and greet them. It surprises 
me, sometimes, that those pretending to 
civilization are content to remain at a 
distance. What experience have they 
of life, not to mention gayety and pleas- 
ure, but of the great purpose of life, so- 
ciety ? Man evidently is gregarious ; 
Fourier's fables are founded on fact ; we 
are nothing without our opposites, our 
fellows, our lights and shadows, colors, 
relations, combinations, our point d'ap- 
pui, and our angle of sight. An isolated 
man is immensurable ; he is also unpic- 
turesque, unnatural, untrue. He is no 
longer the lord of Nature, animal and 
vegetable, but Nature is the lord of him ; 
the trees, skies, flowers, predominate, and 
he is in as bad taste as green and blue, 
or as an oyster in a vase of roses. The 
race swings naturally to clusters. It 
being admitted, then, that society is our 
normal state, where is it to be obtained 
in such perfection as at Paris? Show 
me the urbanity, the generosity in tri- 
fles, better than sacrifice, the incurious- 
ness and freedom, the grace, and wit,, 
and honor, that will equal such as I find 



here. Morality, we were not speaking 
of it, the intrusion is unnecessary ; must 
that word with Anglo-Saxon pertinacity 
dog us round the world ? A hollow mask, 
which Vice now and then lifts for a 
breath of air, I grant you this state may 
be called ; but since I find the vice else- 
where, countenance my preference for 
the accompanying mask. But even this is 
vanishing; such drawing-rooms as Mme. 
de St. Cyr's are less and less frequent 
Yet, though the delightful spell of the 
last century daily dissipates itself, and 
we are not now what we were twenty 
years ago, still Paris is, and will be till 
the end of time, for a cosmopolitan, the 
pivot on which the world revolves. 

It was, then, as I have said, the day of 
Mme. de St. Cyr's dinner. Punctually 
at the hour, I presented myself, ft>r 1 
have always esteemed it the least cour- 
tesy which a guest can render, that he 
should not cool his hostess's dinner. 

The usual choice company waited. 
There was the Marquis of G., the am- 
bassador from home, Col. Leigh, an at- 
tache of that embassy, the Spanish and 
Belgian ministers, all of whom, with my- 
self, completed a diplomatic circle. There 
were also wits and artists, but no ladies 
whose beauty exceeded that of the St 
Cyrs. With nearly all of this assem- 
blage I held certain relations, so that I 
was immediately at ease. G. was the 
only one whom, perhaps, I would rather 
not have met, although we were the best 
of friends. They awaited but one, the 
Baron Stahl. Meanwhile Delphine stood 
coolly taking the measurement of the 
Marquis of G., while her mother enter- 
tained one and another guest with a low- 
toned flattery, gentle interest, or lively 
narration, as the case might demand. 

In a country where a coup d'e'lat was 
as easily given as a box on the ear, we 
all attentively watched for the arrival of 
one who had been sent from a neighbor- 
ing empire to negotiate a loan for the 
tottering throne of this. Nor was expec- 
tation kept long on guard. In a moment, 
" His Excellency, the Baron Stahl ! " was 
announced. 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



153 



The exaggeration of his low bow to 
Mme. de St. Cyr, the gleam askance 
of his black eye, the absurd simplicity of 
his dress, did not particularly please me. 
A low forehead, straight black brows, a 
beardless cheek with a fine color which 
gave him a fictitiously youthful appear- 
ance, were the most striking traits of his 
face ; his person was not to be found 
fault with ; but he boldly evinced his 
admiration for Delphine, and with a 
wicked eye. 

As we were introduced, he assured me, 
in pure English, that he had pleasure in 
making the acquaintance of a gentleman 
whose services were so distinguished. 

I, in turn, assured him of my pleasure 
in meeting a gentleman who appreciated 
them. 

I had arrived at the house of Mme. 
de St. Cyr with a load on my mind, 
which for four weeks had weighed there ; 
but before I thus spoke, it was lifted and 
gone. I had seen the Baron Stahl be- 
fore, although not previously aware of it ; 
and now, as he bowed, talked my native 
tongue so smoothly, drew a glove over the 
handsome hand upon whose first finger 
shone the only incongruity of his attire, 
a broad gold ring, holding a gaudy red 
stone, as he stood smiling and expec- 
tant before me, a sudden chain of events 
flashed through my mind, an instantane- 
ous heat, like lightning, welded them into 
logic. A great problem was resolved. 
For a second, the breath seemed snatch- 
ed from my lips ; the next, a lighter, freer 
man never trod in diplomatic shoes. 

I really beg your pardon, but perhaps 
from long usage, it has become impossible 
for me to tell a straight story. It is ab- 
solutely necessary to inform you of events 
already transpired. 

In the first place, then, I, at this time, 
possessed a valet, the pink of valets, an 
Englishman, and not the less valuable 
to me in a foreign capital, that, notwith- 
standing liis long residence, he was utter- 
ly unable to speak one word of French 
intelligibly. Reading and writing it read- 
ily, his tliick tongue could master scarce- 
ly a syllable. The adroitness and per- 

VOL. III. 10 



fection with which he performed the du 
ties of his place were unsurpassable. To 
a certain extent I was obliged to admit 
him into my confidence ; I was not at all 
in his. In dexterity and dispatch he 
equalled the advertisements. He never 
condescended to don my cast-off apparel, 
but, disposing of it, always arrayed him- 
self in plain but gentlemanly garments. 
These do not complete the list of Hay's 
capabilities. He speculated. Respect- 
able tenements in London called him 
landlord ; in the funds certain sums lay 
subject to his order ; to a profitable farm 
in Hants he contemplated future retire- 
ment; and passing upon the Bourse, I 
have received a grave bow, and have 
left him in conversation with an eminent 
capitalist respecting consols, drafts, ex- 
change, and other erudite mysteries, where 
I yet find myself in the A B C. Thus 
not only was my valet a free-born Briton, 
but a landed proprietor. If the Roth- 
schilds blacked your boots or shaved your 
chin, your emotions might be akin to 
mine. When this man, who had an in- 
terest in the India traders, brought the 
hot water into my dressing-room, of a 
morning, the Antipodes were tributary to 
me ; to what extent might any little iras- 
cibility of mine drive a depression in the 
market ! and I knew, as he brushed my 
hat, whether stocks rose or fell. In one 
respect, I was essentially like our Saxon 
ancestors, my servant was a villain. If 
I had been merely a civilian, in any pure- 
ly private capacity, having leisure to at- 
tend to personal concerns in the midst 
of the delicate specialties intrusted to me 
from the cabinet at home, the possession 
of so inestimable a valet might have bul- 
lied me beyond endurance. As it was, 
I found it rather agreeable than other- 
wise. He was tacitly my secretary of 
finance. 

Several years ago, a diamond of won- 
derful size and beauty, having wandered 
from the East, fell into certain ini]M>rial 
coffers among our Continental neighbors ; 
and at the same time some extraordinary 
intelligence, essential to the existence, BO 
to speak, of that government, reached a 



154 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



person there who fixed as its price this 
diamond. After a while he obtained it, 
but, judging that prudence lay in depart- 
ure, took it to England 1 , where it was pur- 
chased for an enormous sum by the Duke 

of , as he will remain an unknown 

quantity, let us say X. There are prob- 
ably not a dozen such diamonds in the 
world, certainly not three in England. 
It rejoiced in such flowery appellatives 
as the Sea of Splendor, the Moon of 
Milk ; and, of pourse, those who had 
been scarcely better than jewed out of 
it were determined to obtain it again at 
all hazards ; they were never famous for 
scrupulosity. The Duke of X. was aware 
of this, and, for a time, the gem had lain 
idle, its glory muffled in a casket; but 
finally, on some grand occasion, a few 
months prior to the period of which I 
have spoken above, it was determined to 
set it in the Duchess's coronet. Accord- 
ingly, one day, it was given by her son, 
the Marquis of G., into the hands of their 
solicitor, who should deliver it to her 
Grace's jeweller. It lay in a small sha- 
green case, and, before the Marquis left, 
the solicitor placed the case in a fiat 
leathern box, where lay a chain of most 
singular workmanship, the clasp of which 
was deranged. This chain was very 
broad, of a style known as -the brick- 
work, but every brick was a tiny gem, 
set in a delicate filigree linked with the 
next, and the whole rainbowed lustrous- 
ness moving at your will, like the scales 
of some gorgeous Egyptian serpent ; the 
solicitor was to take this also to the jew- 
eller. Having laid the box in his private 
desk, Ulster, his confidential clerk, lock- 
ed it, while he bowed the Marquis down. 
Returning immediately, the solicitor took 
the flat box and drove to the jeweller's. 
He found the latter so crowded with cus- 
tomers, it being the fashionable hour, as 
to be unable to attend to him ; he, how- 
ever, took the solicitor into his inner 
room, a dark fire-proof place, and there 
quickly deposited the box within a safe, 
which stood inside another, like a Japan- 
ese puzzle, and the solicitor, seeing the 
doors double-locked and secured, depart- 



ed ; the other promising to attend to the 
matter on the morrow. 

Early the next morning, the jeweller 
entered his dark room, and proceeded to 
unlock the safe. This being concluded, 
and the inner one also thrown open, he 
found the box in a last and entirely, as 
he had always believed, secret compart- 
ment. Anxious to see this wonder, this 
Eye of Morning, and Heart of Day, he 
eagerly loosened the band and unclosed 
the box. It was empty. There was no 
chain there ; the diamond was missing. 
The sweat streamed from his forehead, 
his clothes were saturated, he believed 
himself the victim of a delusion. Call- 
ing an assistant, every article and nook 
in the dark room was examined. At last, 
in an extremity of despair, he sent for 
the solicitor, who arrived in a breath. 
The jeweller's alarm hardly equalled that 
of the other. In his sudden dismay, he 
at first forgot the circumstances and 
dates relating to the affair; afterward 
was doubtful. The Marquis of G. was 
summoned, the police called in, the jew- 
eller given into custody. Every breath 
the solicitor continued to draw only built 
up his ruin. He swallowed laudanum, 
but, by making it an overdose, frustrated 
his own design. He Avas assured, on his 
recovery, that no suspicion attached to 
him. The jeweller noAv asseverated that 
the diamond had never been given to 
him ; but though this was strictly true, 
the jeweller had, nevertheless, commit- 
ted perjury. Of course, whoever had 
the stone would not attempt to dispose 
of it at present, and, though communi- 
cations were opened with the general 
European police, there was very little 
to work upon. But by means of this 
last step the former possessors became 
aware of its loss, and I make no doubt 
had their agents abroad immediately. 

Meanwhile, the case hung here, com- 
plicated and tantalizing, when one morn- 
ing I woke in London. No sooner had 
G. heard of my arrival than he called, 
and, relating the affair, requested my as- 
sistance. I confess myself to have been 
interested, foolishly so, I thought after- 



1859.] 



Ta a Cellar. 



ward; but we all have our weaknesses, 
and diamonds were mine. In company 
with the Marquis, I waited upon the so- 
licitor, who entered into the few details 
minutely, calling frequently upon Ulster, 
a young fresh-looking man, for corrobo- 
ration. We then drove to the jeweller's 
new quarters, took him, under charge 
of the officers, to his place of business, 
where he nervously showed me every 
point that could bear upon the subject, 
and ended by exclaiming, that he was 
ruined, and all for a stone he had never 
seen. I sat quietly for a few moments. 
It stood, then, thus : G. had given* the 
thing to the solicitor, seen it put into 
the box, seen the box put into the desk ; 
but while the confidential clerk, Ulster, 
locked the desk, the solicitor saw the 
Marquis to the door, returning, took the 
box, without opening it again, to the jew- 
eller, who, in the hurry, shut it up in his 
safe, also without opening it. The case 
was perfectly clear. These mysterious 
things are always so simple ! You know 
now, as well as I, who took the diamond. 

1 did not choose to volunteer, but as- 
sented, on being desired. The police and 
1 were old friends ; they had so often as- 
sisted me, that I was not afraid to pay 
them in kind, and accordingly agreed to 
take charge of the case, still retaining 
thoir aid, should I require it. The jew- 
eller was now restored to his occupation, 
although still subjected to a rigid surveil- 
lance, and I instituted inquiries into the 
recent movements of the young man Ul- 
ster. The case seemed to me to have been 
very blindly conducted. But, though all 
tint was brought to light concerning him 
in London was perfectly fair and above- 
board, it was discovered that not long 
since he had visited Paris, on the so- 
li'-itor's business, of course, but gaining 
thereby an opportunity to transact any 
little affairs of his own. This was for- 
tunate ; for if any one could do anything 
in Parjfi. it was myself. 

It is not often that I act as a detective. 
But one homogeneous to every situation 
could hardly play a pleasanter part for 
once. I have thought that our great mas- 



practice, ?.I; 



155 



ters in theory and practice, Machiavel 
and Talleyrand, were hardly more, on a 
large scale. ^^^ 

I was about H^ini to Paris, but re- 
solved to call p^^^wy on the solicitor 
again. He welcoTn^T me warmly, al- 
though my suspicions had not been im- 
parted to him, and, with a more cheerful 
heart than had lately been habitual to 
him, entered into an animated conversa- 
tion respecting the great case of Biter v. 
Bit, then absorbing so much of the public 
attention, frequently addressing Ulster, 
whose remarks were always pertinent, 
brief, and clear. As I sat actively dis- 
cussing the topic, feeling no more inter- 
est in it than in the end of that cigar I 
just cut off, and noting ^exactly every 
look and motion of the unfortunate youth, 
I recollect the curious sentiment that fill- 
ed me regarding him. What injury had 
he done me, that I should pursue him 
with punishment ? Me ? I am, and ev- 
ery individual is, integral with the com- 
monwealth. It was the commonwealth 
he had injured. Yet, even then, why 
was I the one to administer justice V 
Why not continue with my coffee in the 
morning, my kings and cabinets and na- 
tional chess at noon, my opera at nigh^ 
and let the poor devil go? Why, but 
that justice is brought home to even- 
member of society, that naked duty re- 
quires no shirking of such responsibility, 
that, had I failed here, the crime might, 
with reason, lie at my door and multiply, 
the criminal increase himself? 

Very possibly you will not unite with 
me ; but these little catechisms are, once 
in a while, indispensable, to vindicate 
one's course to one's-self. 

This Ulster was a handsome youth ; the 
rogues have generally all the good looks. 
There was nothing else remarkable about 
him but his quickness; he was perpetual- 
ly on the alert ; by constant activity, the 
rust was never allowed to collect on his 
faculties; his sharpne-s w.-i-- distressing,* 
. he appeared subject to a tei^e strain. 
Now his quill scratched over the paper 
unconcernedly, while he could join as 
easily in his master's conversation ; noth- 



156 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



iug seemed to preoccupy him, or be held 
a mind open- at every point. It is pitiful 
to remember llim thaj^^>rning, sitting 
quiet, unconscious, ^^B-ee, utterly in 
the hands of that j^^^Plnquisition, the 
Metropolitan Polic^^ith its countless 
arms, its cells and myrmidons in the re- 
motest corners of the Continent, at the 
mercy of so merciless a monster, and 
momently closer involved, like some poor 
prey round which a spider spins its be- 
wildering web. It was also curious to 
observe the sudden suspicion that dark- 
ened his face at some innocent remark, 
the quick shrinking and intrenched re- 
tirement, the manifest sting and rancor, 
as I touched his wound with a swift flash 
of my slender weapon and sheathed it 
again, and, after the thrust, the espionage, 
and the relief at believing it accidental. 
He had many threads to gather up and 
hold ; little electric warnings along them 
must have been constantly shocking him. 
He did that part well enough; it was a 
mistake, to begin with; he needed pru- 
dence. At that time I owed this Ulster 
nothing ; now, however, I owe him a 
grudge, for some of the most harassing 
hours of my life were occasioned me by 
hjn. But I shall not cherish enmity on 
that account. With so promising a be- 
ginning, he will graduate and take his 
degree from the loftiest altitude in his 
line. Hemp is a narcotic ; let it bring 
me forgetfulness. 

In Paris I found it not difficult to trace 
such a person, since he was both foreign 
and unaccustomed. It was ascertained 
that he had posted several letters. A 
person of his description had been seen 
to drop a letter, the superscription of 
which had been read by the one who 
picked it up for him. This superscrip- 
tion was the address of the very person 
who was likely to be the agent of the 
former possessors of the diamond, and 
had attracted attention. After all, you 
know the Secret Force, it was not so 
impossible to imagine what this letter 
contained, despite of its cipher. Such a 
person also had been met among the 
Jews, and at certain shops whose repu- 



tation was not of the clearest He had 
called once or twice on Mme. de St. 
Cyr, on business relative to a vineyard 
adjoining her chateau in the Gironde, 
which she had sold to a wine-merchant 
of England. I found a zest in the affair, 
as I pursued it. 

We were now fairly at sea, but before 
long I found we were likely to remain 
there ; in fact, nothing of consequence 
eventuated. I began to regret having 
taken the affair from the hands in which 
I had found it, and one day, it being 
a gala or some insatiable saint's day, I 
was riding, perplexed with that and oth- 
er matters, and paying small attention 
to the passing crowd. I was vexed and 
mortified, and had fully decided to throw 
up the whole, on such hairs do things 
hang, when, suddenly turning a corner, 
my bridle-reins became entangled in the 
snaffle of another rider. I loosened them 
abstractedly, and not till it was necessary 
to bow to my strange antagonist, on partr 
ing, did I glance up. The person be- 
fore me was evidently not accustomed to 
play the dandy ; he wore his clothes ill, 
sat his horse worse, and was uneasy in 
the saddle. The unmistakable air of 
the gamin was apparent beneath the su- 
perficies of the gentleman. Conspicuous 
on his costume, and wound like an or- 
der of merit upon his breast, glittered a 
chain, the chain, each tiny brick-like 
gem spiked with a hundred sparks, and 
building a fabric of sturdy probabilities 
with the celerity of the genii in con- 
structing Aladdin's palace. There, a 
cable to haul up the treasure, was the 
chain ; where was the diamond ? I need 
not tell you how I followed this young 
friend, with what assiduity I kept him in 
sight, up and down, all day long, till, 
weary at last of his fine sport, as I cer- 
tainly was of mine, he left his steed in 
stall and fared on his way a-foot. Still 
pursuing, now I threaded quay and 
square, street and alley, till he disap- 
peared in a small shop, in one of those 
dark crowded lanes leading eastward 
from the Pont Neuf, in the city. It was 
the sign of a marchand des armures, 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



157 



and, having provided myself with those 
persuasive arguments, a sergent-de-ville 
and a gendarme, I entered. 

A place more characteristic it would 
be impossible to find. Here were piled 
bows of every material, ash, and horn, 
and tougher fibres, with slackened strings, 
and among them peered a rusty clarion 
and battle-axe, while the quivers that 
should have accompanied lay in a dis- 
tant corner, their arrows serving to pin 
long, dusty, torn banners to the wall. 
Opposite the entrance, an archer in 
bronze hung on tiptoe, and levelled a 
steel bow, whose piercing Jleche seemed 
sparkling with impatience to spring from 
his finger and flesh itself in the heart of 
the intruder. The hauberk and halberd, 
lance and casque, arquebuse and sword, 
were suspended in friendly congeries ; 
and fragments of costly stuff' swept from 
ceiling to floor, crushed and soiled by the 
heaps of rusty firelocks, cutlasses, and 
gauntlets thrown upon them. In one 
place, a little antique bust was half hid 
in the folds of some pennon, still dyed 
with battle-stains ; in another, scattered 
treasures of Dresden and Sevres brought 
the drawing-room into the campaign; 
and all around bivouacked rifles, whose 
polished barrels glittered full of death, 
pistols, variously mounted, for an insur- 
gent at the barricades, or for a lost mil- 
lionnaire at the gaming-table, foils, with 
buttoned bluntness, and rapiers, whose 
even edges were viewless, as if filed into 
air. Destruction lay everywhere, at the 
command of the owner of this place, and, 
had he possessed a particle of vivacity, it 
would have been hazardous to bow be- 
neath his doorway. It did not, I must 
say, look like a place where I should find 
a diamond. As the owner came forward, 
I determined on my plan of action. 

" You have, Sir," I said, handing him 
a bit of paper, on which were scrawled 
some numbers, " a diamond in your pos- 
session, of such and so many carats, size, 
and value, belonging to the Duke of X., 
! !'i with you by an Englishman, Mr. 
Arthur Ulster. You will deliver it to 
me, if you please." 



" Monsieur 1 " exclaimed the man, lift- 
ing his hands, and surveying me with the 
widest eyes I evqr saw. "A diamond! 
In my possession'^ 'So immense a thing ! 
It is impossible. I have not even seen 
one of the kind. It is a mistake. Jacques 
Noailles, the vender of jewels en gros, 
second door below, must be the man. 
One should perceive that my business 
is with arms, not diamonds. I have it 
not ; it would ruin me." 

Here he paused for a reply, but, meet- 
ing none, resumed. " M. Arthur Ulster ! 
I have heard of no such person. I 
never spoke with an Englishman. Bah ! 
I detest them ! I have no dealings 
with them. I repeat, I have not your 
jewel. Do you wish anything more of 
me ? " 

His vehemence only convinced me of 
the truth of my suspicions. 

" These heroics are out of place," I 
answered. " I demand the ^ticle in 
question." 

" Monsieur doubts me ? " he asked, 
with a rueful face, " questions my word, 
which is incontrovertible ? " Here he 
clapped his hand upon a couteau-de- 
cliasse lying near, but, appearing to think 
better of it, drew himself up, and, with 
a shower of nods flung at me, added, " I 
deny your accusation!" I had not ac- 
cused him. 

" You are at too much pains to convict 
yourself. I charge you with nothing," I 
said. " But this diamond must be sur- 
rendered." 

"Monsieur is mad!" he exclaimed, 
" mad ! he dreams ! Do I look like one 
who possesses such a trophy ? Does my 
shop resemble a mine ? Look about ! 
Se ! All that is here would not bring 
a hundredth part of its price. I beseech 
Monsieur to believe me ; he has mistaken 
the number, or has been misinformed." 

" We waste words. I know this dia- 
mond is here, as well as a costly chain " 

" On my soul, on my life, on my hon- 
or," he cried, clasping his hands and turn- 
ing up his eyes, " there is here nothing 
of the kind. I do not deal in gems. A 
little silk, a few weapons, a curiosity, a 



158 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



nicknack, comprise my stock. I have 
not the diamond. I do not know the 
thing. I am poor. I am honest. Sus- 
picion destroys me ! " 

" As you will find, should I be longer 
troubled by your denials." 

He was inflexible, and, having exhaust- 
ed every artifice of innocence, wiped the 
tears from his eyes, oh, these French ! 
life is their theatre, and remained quiet. 
It was getting dark. There was no gas 
in the place ; but in the pause a distant 
street-lamp swung its light dimly round. 

" Unless one desires to purchase, al- 
low me to say that it is my hour for clos- 
ing," he remarked, blandly, rubbing his 
black-bearded chin. 

" My time is valuable," I returned, 
" It is late and dark. When your shop- 
boy lights up" 

"Pardon, we do not light." 

" Permit me, then, to perform that of- 
fice for you. In this blaze you may per- 
ceive my companions, whom you have 
not appeared to recognize." 

So saying, I scratched a match upon 
the floor, and, as the sergent-de-ville and 
the gendarme advanced, threw the .light 
of the blue spirt of sulphurous flame up- 
on them. In a moment more the match 
went out, and we remained in the demi- 
twilight of the distant lantern. The 
marcltand des armures stood petrified 
and aghast. Had he seen the imps of 
Satan in that instant, it could have had 
no greater effect. 

" You have seen them ? " I asked. " I 
regret to inconvenience you; but unless 
this diamond is produced at once, my 
friends will put their seal on your goods, 
your property will be confiscated, your- 
self in a dungeon. In other words, I ill- 
low you five minutes ; at the close of that 
time you will have chosen between resti- 
tution and ruin." 

He remained apparently lost in thought. 
He was a big, stout man, and with one 
blow of his powerful fist could easily have 
settled me. It was the last thing in his 
mind. At length he lifted his head, 
" Rosalie ! " he called. 
x At the word, a light foot pattered along 



a stone floor within, and in a moment a 
little woman stood in an arch raised by 
two steps from our own level. Carrying 
a candle, she descended and tripped 
toward him. She was not pretty, but 
sprightly and keen, as the perpetual at- 
trition of life must needs make her, and 
wore the everlasting grisette costume, 
which displays the neatest of ankles, and 
whose cap is more becoming than wreaths 
of garden millinery. I am too minute, I 
see, but it is second nature. The two com- 
menced a vigorous whispering amid sun- 
dry gestures and glances. Suddenly the 
woman turned, and, laying the prettiest 
of little hands on my sleeve, said, with a 
winning smile, 

" Is it a crime oflese-majefste?" 

This was a new idea, but might be use- 
ful. 

" Not yet," I said ; " two minutes more, 
and I will not answer for the conse- 
quence." 

Other whispers ensued. 

" Monsieur," said the man, leaning on 
one arm over the counter, and looking 
up in my face; with the most engaging 
frankness, " it is true that I have such 
a diamond ; but it is not mine. It is left 
with me to be delivered to the Baron 
Stahl, who comes as an agent from his 
court for its purchase." 

" Yes, I know." 

" He was to have paid me half a mil- 
lion francs, not half its worth, in trust 
for the person who left it, who is not M. 
Arthur Ulster, but Mine, de St. Cyr." 

Madame de St. Cyr ! How under the 

sun No, it could not be possible. 

The case stood as it stood before. The 
rogue was in deeper water than I had 
thought ; he had merely employed Mme. 
de St. Cyr. I ran this over in my mind, 
while I said, " Yes." 

" Now, Sir," I continued, " you will 
state the terms of this transaction." 

" With pleasure. For my trouble I 
was myself to receive patronage and five 
thousand francs. The Baron is to be 
here directly, on other and public busi- 
ness. Heine du del, Monsieur ! how shall 
I meet him ? " * 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



159 



" He is powerless in Paris ; your fear 
is idle." 

" True. There were no other terms." 

" Nor papers ? " 

" The lady thought it safest to be with- 
out them. She took merely my receipt, 
which the Baron Stahl will bring to me 
from her before receiving this." 

" I will trouble you for it now." 

He bowed and shuffled away. At a 
glance from me, the gendarme slipped 
to the rear of the building, where three 
others were stationed at the two exits in 
that direction, to caution them of the crit- 
ical moment, and returned. Ten min- 
utes passed, the merchant did not ap- 
pear. If, after all, he had made off with 
it ! There had been the click of a bolt, 
the half-stifled rattle of arms, as if a door 
had been opened and rapidly closed 
agVm, but nothing more. 

" I will see what detains my friend," 
said Mademoiselle, the little woman. 

We suffered her to withdraw. In a 
moment more a quick expostulation was 
to be heard. . 

"They are there, the gendarmes, my 
little one ! I should have run, but they 
caught me, the villains ! and replaced me 
in the house. Oh, sacre ! " and rolling 
this word between his teeth, he came 
down and laid a little box on the coun- 
ter. I opened it. There was within a 
large, glittering, curiously-cut piece of 
glass. I threw it aside. 

" The diamond ! " I exclaimed. 

" Monsieur had it," he replied, stoop- 
ing to pick up the glass with every ap- 
pearance of surprise and care. 

" Do you mean to say you endeavored 
to escape with that bawble ? Produce 
the diamond instantly, or you shall hang 
as high as Haman ! " I roared. 

Whether he knew the individual in ques- 
tion or not, the threat was efficient; he 
trembled and hesitated, and finally drew 
the identical shagreen case from his bosom. 

" I but jested," he said. " Monsieur 
will witness that I relinquish it with re- 
luctance." 

" I will witness that you receive stolen 
goods ! " I cried, in wrath. 



He placed it in my hands. 

" Oh ! " he groaned, from the bottom 
of his heart, hanging his head, and lay- 
ing both hands on the counter before 
him, " it pains, it grieves me to part 
with it!" 

" And the chain," I said. 

" Monsieur did not demand that ! " 

" I demand it now." 

In a moment, the chain also was given 
me. 

" And now will Monsieur do me a fa- 
vor ? Will he inform me by what means 
he ascertained these facts ? " 

I glanced at the gar^on, who had prob- 
ably supplied himself with his master's 
finery illicitly ; he was the means ; 
we have some generosity^; 1 thought I 
should prefer doing him the favor, and 
declined. 

I unclasped the shagreen case ; the 
sergent-de-ville and the gendarme stole 
up and looked over my shoulder; the 
garfon drew near with round eyes; the 
little woman peeped across ; the mer- 
chant, with tears streaming over his face, 
gazed as if it had been a loadstone ; final- 
ly, I looked myself. There it lay, the 
glowing, resplendent thing ! flashing in af- 
fluence of splendor, throbbing and palpi- 
tant with life, drawing all the light from 
the little woman's candle, from the spark- 
ling armor around, from the steel barbs, 
and the distant lantern, into its bosom. 
It was scarcely so large as I had expect- 
ed to see it, but more brilliant than any- 
thing I could conceive of. I do not be- 
lieve there is another such in the world. 
One saw clearly that the Oriental super- 
stition of the sex of stones was no fable ; 
this was essentially the female of dia- 
monds, the queen herself, the principle 
of life, the rejoicing creative force. It 
was not radiant, as the term literally tak- 
en implies; it seemed rather to retain ite 
wealth, instead of emitting its glorious 
rays, to curl them back like the fringe of 
a madrepore, and lie there with redoubled 
quivering scintillations, a mass of white 
magnificence, not prismatic, but a vast 
milky lustre. I closed the case ; on re- 
opening it, I could scarcely believe that 



160 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



the beautiful sleepless eye would again 
flash upon me. I did not comprehend 
how it could afford such perpetual rich- 
ness, such sheets of lustre. 

At last we compelled ourselves to be 
satisfied. I left the shop, dismissed my 
attendants, and, fresh from the contem- 
plation of this miracle, again trod the 
dirty, reeking streets, crossed the bridge, 
with its lights, its warehouses midway, its 
living torrents who poured on uncon- 
scious of the beauty within their reach. 
The thought of their ignorance of the 
treasure, not a dozen yards distant, has 
often made me question if we all are not 
equally unaware of other and greater 
processes of life, of more perfect, sublim- 
ed, and, as it were, spiritual crystalliza- 
tions going on invisibly about us. But 
had these been told of the thing clutched 
in the hand of a passer, how many of 
them would have known where to turn ? 
and we, are we any better ? 



n. 



FOR a few days I carried the diamond 
about my person, and did not mention its 
recoveiy even to my valet, who knew 
that I sought it, but communicated only 
with the Marquis of G., who replied, that 
he would be in Paris on a certain day, 
when I could safely deliver it to him. 

It was now generally rumored that the 
neighboring government was about to 
send us the Baron Stahl, ambassador 
concerning arrangements for a loan to 
maintain the sinking monarchy in su- 
premacy at Paris, the usual synecdoche 
for France. 

The weather being fine, I proceeded 
to call on Mme. de St. Cyr. She re- 
ceived me in her boudoir, and on my 
way thither I could not but observe the 
perfect quiet and cloistered seclusion that 
pervaded the whole house, the house it- 
self seeming only an adjunct of the still 
and sunny garden, of which one caught a 
glimpse through the long open hall-win- 
dows beyond. This boudoir did not dif- 
fer xfrom others to which I have been 



admitted : the same delicate shades ; all 
the dainty appliances of Art for beauty ; 
the lavish profusion of bijouterie ; and 
the usual statuettes of innocence, to indi- 
cate, perhaps, the presence of that com- 
modity which might not be guessed at 
otherwise ; and burning in a silver cup, 
a rich perfume loaded the air with volup- 
tuous sweetness. Through a half-open 
door an inner boudoir was to be seen, 
which must have been Delphine's ; it 
looked like her ; the prevailing hue was 
a soft purple, or gray ; a prie-dieu, a 
book-shelf, and desk, of a dark West 
Indian wood, were just visible. There 
was but one picture, a sad-eyed, beauti- 
ful Fate. It was the type of her nation. 
I think she worshipped it. And how apt 
is misfortune to degenerate into Fate ! 
not that the girl had ever experienced 
the former, but, dissatisfied with life, and 
seeing no outlet, she accepted it stoically 
and waited till it should be over. She 
needed to be aroused ; the station of 
an ambassadrice, which I .desired for 
her, might kindle the spark. There 
were : no flowers* no perfumes, no busts, 
in this ascetic place. Delphine herself, 
in some faint rosy gauze, her fair hair 
streaming round her, as she lay on a 
white-draped couch, half-risen on one 
arm, while she read the morning's feuille- 
ton, was the most perfect statuary of 
which a room could boast, illumined, as 
I saw her, by the gay beams that enter- 
ed at the loftily-arched window, broken 
only by the flickering of the vine-leaves 
that clustered the curiously-latticed panes 
without. She resembled in kind a Nymph 
or Aphrodite just bursting from the sea. 
Madame de St. Cyr received me with 
ernpressement, and, so doing, closed the 
door of this shrine. We spoke of vari- 
ous things, of the court, the theatre, the 
weather, the world, skating lightly round 
the slender edges of her secret, till finally 
she invited me to lunch with he^f in the 
garden. Here, on a rustic table, stood 
wine and a few delicacies, while, by ex- 
tending a hand, we could grasp the hang- 
ing peai*s and nectarines, still warm to 
the lip and luscious with sunshine, as 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



161 



we disputed possession with the envious 
wasp who had established a priority of 
claim. 

" It is to be hoped," I said, sipping the 
Haut-Brion, whose fine and brittle smack 
contrasted rarely with the delicious juici- 
ness of the fruit, " that you have laid 
in a supply of this treasure that neither 
moth nor rust doth corrupt, before part- 
ing with that little gem in the Gironde." 

" Ah ? You know, then, that I have 
sold it ? " 

" Yes," I replied. " I have the pleas- 
ure of Mr. Ulster's acquaintance." 

" He arranged the terms for me," she 
said, with restraint, adding, " I could 
almost wish now that it had not been." 

This was probably true ; for the sum 
which she hoped to receive from Ulster 
for standing sponsor to his jewel was 
possibly equal to the price of her vine- 
yard. 

" It was indispensable at the time, this 
sale ; I thought best to hazard it on one 
more season. If, after such advantages, 
Delphine will not marry, why it re- 
mains to retire into the country and end 
our days with the barbarians ! " she con- 
tinued, shrugging her shoulders ; " I have 
a house there." 

" But you will not be obliged to throw 
us all into despair by such a step now," I 
replied. 

She looked quickly, as if to see how 
nearly I had approached her citadel, 
then, finding in my face no expression but 
a complimentary one, " No," she said, " I 
hope that my affairs have brightened a 
little. One never knows what is in 
store." 

Before long I had assured myself that 
Mme. de St. Cyr was not a party to the 
theft, but had merely been hired by Ul- 
ster, who, discovering the state of her 
affairs, had not, therefore, revealed his 
own, and this without in the least im- 
plying ajty knowledge on my part of the 
transaction. Ulster must have seen the 
necessity of leaving the business in the 
hands of a competent person, and Mme. 
de St. Cyr's financial talent was patent. 
There were few ladies in Paris who would 



have rejected the opportunity. Of these 
things I felt a tolerable certainty. 

" We B throng with foreigners," said 
Madame, archly, as I reached this point. 
" Diplomates, too. The Baron Stahl ar- 
rives in a day." 

" I have heard," I responded. " You 
are acquainted ? " 

" Alas ! no," she said. " I knew his 
father well, though he himself is not 
young. Indeed, the families thought once 
of intermarriage. But nothing has been 
said on the subject for many years. His 
Excellency, I hear, -will strengthen him- 
self at home by an alliance with the 
young Countess, the natural daughter of 
the Emperor." 

" He surely will never be so imprudent 
as to rivet his chain by such a link ! " 

" It is impossible to compute the dice 
in those despotic countries," she rejoined, 
which was pretty well, considering the 
freedom enjoyed by France at that pe- 
riod. 

" It may be," I suggested, " that the 
Baron hopes to open this delicate sub- 
ject with you himself, Madame." 

" It is unlikely," she said, sighing. 
" And for Delphine, should I tell her his 
Excellency preferred scarlet, she would 
infallibly wear blue. Imagine her, Mon- 
sieur, in fine scarlet, with a scarf of gold 
gauze, and rustling grasses in that un- 
ruly gold hair of hers ! She would be di- 
vine ! " 

The maternal instinct as we have it 
here at Paris confounds me. I do not 
comprehend it. Here was a mother who 
did not particularly love her child, who 
would not be inconsolable at her loss, 
would not ruin her own complexion by 
care of her during illness, would send her 
through fire and water and every torture 
to secure or maintain a desirable rank, 
who yet would entangle herself deeply 
in intrigue, would not hesitate to tarnish 
her own reputation, and would, in fact, 
raise heaven and earth to endow this 
child with a brilliant match. And Mme. 
de St. Cyr seemed to regard Delphine, 
still further, as a cool matter of Art. 

These little confidences, moreover, are 



162 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



provoking. They put you yourself so 
entirely out of the question. 

" Mile, de St. Cyr's beauty is peerless," 
I said, slightly chagrined, and at a loss. 
" If hearts were trumps, instead of dia- 
monds ! " 

" We are poor," resumed Madame, 
pathetically. " Delphine is not an heir- 
ess. Delphine is proud. She will not 
stoop to charm. Her coquetry is that 
of an Amazon. Her kisses are arrows. 
She is Medusa ! " And Madame, her 
mother, shivered. 

Here, with her hair knotted up and 
secured by a tiny dagger, her gauzy- 
drapery gathered iu her arm, Delphiue 
floated down the green alley toward us, 
as if in a rosy cloud. But this soft aspect 
never could have been more widely con- 
tradicted than by the stony repose and 
cutting calm of her beautiful face. 

" The Marquis of G.," said her moth- 
er, " he also arrives ambassador. Has 
he talent ? Is he brilliant ? Wealthy, of 
course, but gauche?" 

Therewith I sketched for them the 
Marquis and his surroundings. 

" It is charming," said Madame. " Del- 
phine, do you attend V " 

" And why ? " asked Delphine, half 
concealing a yawn with her dazzling 
hand. " It is wearisome ; it matters not 
to me." 

" But he will not go to marry him- 
self in France," said her mother. " Oh, 
these English," she added, with a laugh, 
" yourself, Monsieur, being proof of it, 
will not mingle blood, lest the Channel 
should still flow between the little red 
globules! You will go? but to return 
shortly ? You will dine with me soon ? 
Au revoir ! " and she gave me her hand 
graciously, while Delphine bowed as if I 
were already gone, threw herself into a 
garden-chair, and commenced pouring 
the wine on a stone for a little tame 
snake which came out and lapped it. 

Such women as Mme. de St. Cyr 
have a species of magnetism about them. 
It is difficult to retain one's self-respect 
before them, for no other reason than 
that one is, at the moment, absorbed into 



their individuality, and thinks and acts 
with them. Delphine must have had a 
strong will, and perpetual antagonism did 
not weaken it. As for me, Madame had, 
doubtless, reasons of her own for tearing 
aside these customary bands of reserve, 
reasons which, if you do not perceive, I 
shall not enumerate. 

" Have you met with anything further 
in your search, Sir ? " asked my valet, 
next morning. 

" Oh, yes, Hay," I returned, in a very 
good humor, " with great success. You 
have assisted me so much, that I am sure 
I owe it to you to say that I have found 
the diamond." 

" Indeed, Sir, you are very kind. I 
have been interested, but my assistance 
is not worth mentioning. I thought like- 
ly it might be, you appeared so quiet." 
The cunning dog ! " How did you find 
it, Sir, may I ask ? 

I briefly related the leading facts, since 
he had been aware of the progress of the 
case to that point, without, however, 
mentioning Mme. de St. Cyr's name. 

" And Monsieur did not inform me ! " 
a French valet would have cried. 

" You were prudent not to mention it, 
Sir," said Hay. " These walls must have 
better ears than ordinary ; for a family 
has moved in on the first floor recently, 
whose actions are extremely suspicious. 
But is this precious affair to be seen ? " 

I took it from an inner pocket and 
displayed it, having discarded the sha- 
green case as inconvenient. 

" His Excellency must return as he 
came," said I. 

Hay's eyes sparkled. 

" And do you carry it there, Sir ? " he 
asked, with surprise, as I restored it to 
my waistcoat-pocket. 

" I shall take it to the bank," I said. 
" I do not like the responsibility." 

"It is very unsafe," was the warn- 
ing of this cautious fellow. " Why, Sir ! 
any of these swells, these pickpockets, 
might meet you, run against you, so ! " 
said Hay, suiting the action to the word, 
" and, with the little sharp knife conceal- 



1859.] 

ed in just such a ring as this I wear, 
give a light tap, and there's a slit in your 
vest, Sir, but no diamond !" and instant- 
ly resuming his former respectful deport- 
ment, Hay handed ine my gloves and 
stick, and smoothed my hat. 

' Nonsense ! " I replied, drawing on 
the gloves, " I should like to see the man 
who could be too quick for me. Any 
iiews from India, Hay V " 

" None of consequence, Sir. The in- 
digo crop is said to have failed, which 
advances the figure of that on hand, so 
that one or two fortunes will be made 
to-day. Your hat, Sir V your lunettes ? 
Here they are, Sir." 

" Good morning, Hay." 

" Good morning, Sir." 

I descended the stairs, buttoning my 
gloves, paused a moment at the door to 
look about, and proceeded down the 
street, which was not more than usually 
thronged. At the bank I paused to as- 
sure myself that the diamond was safe. 
My fingers caught in a singular slit. I 
started. As Hay had prophesied, there 
was a fine longitudinal cut in my waist- 
coat, but the pocket was empty. My 
God ! the thing was gone. I never can for- 
get the blank nihility of all existence that 
dreadful moment when I stood fumbling 
for what was not. Calm as I sit here 
and tell of it, I vow to you a shiver cours- 
es through me at the very thought. I had 
circumvented Stahl only to destroy myself. 
The diamond was lost again. My mind 
flew like lightning over every chance, 
and a thousand started up like steel spikes 
to snatch the bolt. For a moment I was 
stunned, but, never being very subject to 
despair, on my recovery, which was al- 
most at once, took every measure that 
could be devised. Who had touch- 
ed me ? Whom had I met ? Through 
what streets had I come ? In ten min- 
utes the Prefect had the matter in hand. 
My injunctions were strict privacy. I 
sincerely hoped the mishap would not 
reach England; and if the diamoiul were 
not recovered before the Marquis of G. 
arrived, why, there was the Seine. It 
is all very well to talk, yet suicide is 



Cellar. 



163 



so French an affair, that an Englisluuan 
does not take to it naturally, and, except 
in November, the Seine is too cold and 
damp for comfort, but during that month 
I suppose it does not greatly differ in 
these respects from our own atmosphere. 

A preternatural activity now possessed 
me. I slept none, ate little, worked im- 
moderately. I spared no efforts, for ev- 
erything was at stake. In the midst of 
all G. arrived. Hay also exerted him- 
self to the utmost ; I promised him a hun- 
dred pounds, if I found it. He never 
told me that he said how it would be, 
never intruded the state of the market, 
never resented my irritating conduct, but 
watched me with narrow yet kind solici- 
tude, and frequently offered valuable sug- 
gestions, which, however, as everything 
else did, led to nothing. I did not call 
on G., but in a week or so his card was 
brought up one morning to me. " Deny 
me," I groaned. It yet wanted a week 
of the day on which I had promised to 
deliver him the diamond. Meanwhile 
the Baron Stahl had reached Paris, but 
he still remained in private, few had 
seen him. 

The police were forever on the wrong 
track. To-day they stopped the old 
Comptesse du Quesne and her jewels, at 
the Barriere ; to-morrow, with their long 
needles, they riddled a package of lace 
destined for the Duchess of X. herself; 
the Secret Service was doubled ; and to 
crown all, a splendid new star of the 
testy Prince de Ligne was examined and 
proclaimed to be paste, the Prince 
swearing vengeance, if he could discover 
the cause, while half Paris must have 
been under arrest. My own hotel was 
ransacked thoroughly, Hay begging that 
his traps might be included, but noth- 
ing resulted, and I expected nothing, for, 
of course, I could swear that the stone 
was in my pocket when I stepped into 
the street. I confess I never was nearer 
madness, every word and gesture stung 
me like asps, I walked on burning coals. 
Enduring all this torment, I must yet 
meet my daily comrades, eat ices at Tor- 
toui's, stroll on the Boulevards, call on 



164 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



my acquaintance, with the same equanim- 
ity as before. I believe I was equal to it. 
Only by contrast with that blessed time 
when Ulster and diamonds were un- 
known, could I imagine my past happi- 
ness, my present wretchedness. Rather 
than suffer it again, I would be stretched 
on the rack till every bone in my skin 
was broken. I cursed Mr. Arthur Ul- 
ster every hour in the day ; myself, as 
well; and even now the word diamond 
sends a cold blast to my heart. I often 
met my friend the marchand des ar- 
mures. It was his turn to triumph ; I fan- 
cied there must be a hang-dog kind of air 
about me, as about every sharp man who 
has been outwitted. It wanted finally 
but two days of that on which I was to 
deliver the diamond. 

One midnight, armed with a dark lan- 
tern and a cloak, I was traversing the 
streets alone, unsuccessful, as usual, 
just now solitary, and almost in despair. 
As I turned a corner, two men were but 
scarcely visible a step before me. It was 
a badly-lighted part of the town. Unseen 
and noiseless I followed. They spoke in 
low tones, almost whispers; or rather, 
one spoke, the other seemed to nod as- 
sent. 

" On the day but one after to-morrow," 
I heard spoken in English. Great Hea- 
vens ! was it possible ? had I arrived at a 
clue ? That was the day of days for me. 
" You have given it, you say, in this bil- 
let, I wish to be exact, you see," con- 
tinued the voice, " to prevent detection, 
you gave it, ten minutes after it came 
into your hands, to the butler of Mad- 
ame ," (here the speaker stumbled 

on the rough pavement, and I lost the 
name,) " who," he continued, " will put 

it in the " (a second stumble acted 

like a hiccough) " cellar." 

" Wine-cellar," I thought ; " and what 
then?" 

" In the ." A third stumble was 

followed by a round German oath. How 
easy it is for me now to fill up the little 
blanks which that unhappy pavement 
caused ! 

w You share your receipts with this 



butler. On the day I obtain it," he add- 
ed, and I now perceived his foreign ac- 
cent, " I hand you one hundred thousand 
francs ; afterward, monthly payments till 
you have received the stipulated sum. 
But how will this butler know me, in 
season to prevent a mistake ? Hem ! he 
might give it to the other ! " 

My hearing had been trained to such 
a degree that I would have promised to 
overhear any given dialogue of the spir- 
its themselves, but the whisper that an- 
swered him eluded me. I caught noth- 
ing but a faint sibillation. " Your ring ? " 
was the rejoinder. " He shall be instruct- 
ed to recognize it ? Very well. It is 
too large, no, that will do, it fits the first 
finger. There is nothing more. I am 
under infinite obligations, Sir ; they shall 
be remembered. Adieu ! " 

The two parted ; which should I pur- 
sue ? In desperation I turned my lan- 
tern upon one, and illumined a face fresh 
with color, whose black eyes sparkled 
askance after the retreating figure, under 
straight black brows. In a moment more 
he was lost in a false cul-de-sac, and I 
found it impossible to trace the other. 

I was scarcely better off than before ; 
but it seemed to me that I had obtained 
something, and that now it was wisest to 
work this vein. " The butler of Madame 

." There were hundreds of thousands 

of Madames in town. I might call on all, 
and be as old as the Wandering Jew at 
the last call. The cellar. Wine-cellar, 
of course, that came by a natural con- 
nection with butler, but whose ? There 
was one under my own abode; certainly 
I would explore it. Meanwhile, let us see 
the entertainments for Wednesday. The 
Prefect had a list of these. For some 
I found I had cards ; I determined to 
allot a fraction of time to as many as pos- 
sible; my friends in the Secret Service 
would divide the labor. Among others, 
Madame de St. Cyr gave a dinner, and, 
as she had been in the affair, I deter- 
mined not to neglect her on this occasion, 
although having no definite idea of what 

o O 

had been, or plan of what should be 
done. I decided not to speak of this oc- 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



165 



currence to Hay, since it might only 
bring him off some trail that he had 
struck. 

Having been provided with keys, early 
on the following evening I entered the 
wine-cellar, and, concealed in an empty 
cask that would have held a dozen of me, 
waited for something to turn up. Really, 
when I think of myself, a diplomate, a 
courtier, a man-about-town, curled in a 
dusty, musty wine-barrel, I am moved 
with vexation and laughter. Nothing, 
however, turned up, and at length I re- 
tired, baffled. The next night came, 
no news, no identification of my black- 
browed man, no success; but I felt cer- 
tain that something must transpire in that 
cellar. I don't know why I bad pitched 
upon that one in particular, but, at an 
earlier hour than on the previous night, 
I again donned the cask. A long time 
must have elapsed ; dead silence filled the 
spacious vaults, except where now and 
then some Sillery cracked the air with 
a quick explosion, or some newer wine 
bubbled round the bung of. its barrel 
with a faint effervescence. I had no in- 
tention of leaving this place till morning, 
but it suddenly appeared like the most 
woful waste of time. The master of this 
tremendous affair should be abroad and 
active ; who knew what his keen eyes 
might detect, what loss his absence might 
occasion in this nick of time ? And here 
he was, shut up and locked in a wine- 
cellar ! I began to be very nervous ; I 
had already, with aid, searched every 
crevice of the cellar ; and now I thought 
it would be some consolation to discover 
the thief, if I never regained the diamond. 
A distant clock tolled midnight. There 
was a faint noise, a mouse ? no, it was 
too prolonged ; nor did it sound like the 
fiz of Champagne ; a great iron door was 
turning on its hinges ; a man with a lan- 
tern was entering ; another followed, and 
another. They seated themselves. In a 
few moments, appearing one by one and 
at intervals, some thirty people were in 
the cellar. Were they all to share in the 
proceeds of the diamond ? With what 
jaundiced eyes we behold things ! I my- 



self saw all that was only through the 
lens of this diamond, of which not one 
of these men had ever heard. As the 
lantern threw its feeble glimmer on this 
group, and I surveyed them through my 
loophole, I thought I had never seen so 
wild and savage a picture, such enormous 
shadows, such bold outline, such a start- 
ling flash on the face of their leader, 
such light retreating up the threatening 
arches. More resolute brows, more de- 
termined words, more unshrinking hearts, 
I had not met. In fact, I found myself 
in the centre of a conspiracy, a society 
as vindictive as the Jacobins, as unknown 
and terrible as the Marianne of to-day. 
I was thunderstruck, too, at the counte- 
nances on which the light fell, men the 
loyalest in estimation, ministers and sena- 
tors, millionnaires who had no reason for 
discontent, dandies whose reason was sup- 
posed to be devoted to their tailors, poets 
and artists of generous aspiration and 
suspected tendencies, and one woman, 
Delphine de St. Cyr. Their plans were 
brave, their determination lofty, their 
conclave serious and fine ; yet as slowly 
they shut up their hopes and fears in 
the black masks, one man bent toward 
the lantern to adjust his. When he 
lifted his face before concealing it, I 
recognized him also. I had met him 
frequently at the Bureau of Police ; he 
was, I believe, Secretary of the Secret 
Service. 

I had no sympathy with these people. 
I had liberty enough myself, I was well 
enough satisfied with the world, I did not 
care to revolutionize France ; but my 
heart rebelled at the mockery, as this 
traitor and spy, this creature of a system 
by which I gained my fame, showed his 
revolting face and veiled it again. And 
Delphine, what had she to do with them ? 
One by one, as they entered, they with- 
drew, and I was left alone again. But 
all this was not my diamond. 

Another hour elapsed. Again the door 
opened, and remained ajar. Some one 
entered, whom I could not see. There 
was a pause, then a rustle, the door 
creaked ever so little. "Art thou there ? " 



166 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



lisped a shrill whisper, a woman, as I 
could guess. 

" My angel, it is I," was returned, a 
semitone lower. She approached, he ad- 
vanced, and the consequence was a sa- 
lute resonant as the smack with which 
a Dutch burgomaster may be supposed 
to set down his mug.* I was prepared for 
anything. Ye gods ! if it should be Del- 
phine ! But the base suspicion was birth- 
strangled as they spoke again. The con- 
versation which now ensued between 
these lovers under difficulties was tender 
and affecting beyond expression. I had 
felt guilty enough when an unwilling au- 
ditor of the conspirators, since, though 
one employs spies, one does not therefore 
act that part one's-self, but on emergencies, 
an unwillingness which would not, how- 
ever, prevent my turning to advantage 
the information gained; but here, to listen 
to this rehearsal of woes and blisses, this 
ah mon Fernand, this aria in an area, 
growing momently more fervent, was too 
much. I overturned the cask, scrambled 
upon my feet, and fled from the cellar, 
leaving the astounded lovers to follow, 
while, agreeably to my instincts, and re- 
gardless of the diamond, I escaped the 
embarrassing predicament. 

At length it grew to be noon of the 
appointed day. Nothing had transpired ; 
all our labor was idle. I felt, neverthe- 
less, more buoyant than usual, whether 
because I was now to put my fate to the 
test, or that to-day was the one of which 
my black-browed man had spoken, and 
I therefore entertained a presentiment of 
good-fortune, I cannot say. But when, 
in unexceptionable toilet, I stood on 
Mine, de St. Cyr's steps, my heart sunk. 
G. was doubtless already within, and I 
thought of the marchand des armures' 
exclamation, " Queen of Heaven, Mon- 
sieur ! how shall I meet him ! " I was 
plunged at once into the profoundest 
gloom. Why had I undertaken the busi- 
ness at all ? This interference, this good- 
humor, this readiness to oblige, it would 
ruin me yet ! I forswore it, as Falstaff 
forswore honor. Why needed I to med- 
dle" in the melee ? Why But I was 



no catechumen. Questions were useless 
now. My emotions are not chronicled 
on my face. I flatter myself; and with my 
usual repose I saluted our hostess. Greet- 
ing G. without any allusion to the dia- 
mond, the absence of which allusion he 
received as a point of etiquette, I was 
conversing with Mrs. Leigh, when the 
Baron Stahl was announced. I turned 
to look at his Excellency. A glance 
electrified me. There was my dark- 
browed man of the midnight streets. It 
must, then, have been concerning the 
diamond that I had heard him speak. His 
countenance, his eager, glittering eye, 
told that to-day was as eventful to him as 
to me. If he were here, I could well af- 
ford to be. As he addressed me in Eng- 
lish, my certainty was confirmed ; and 
the instant in which I observed the ring, 
gaudy and coarse, upon his finger, made 
confirmation doubly sure. I own I was 
surprised that anything could induce 
the Baron to wear such an ornament. 
Here he was actually risking his reputa- 
tion as a man of taste, as an exquisite, 
a leader of haut ton, a gentleman, by the 
detestable vulgarity of this ring. But 
why do I speak so of the trinket ? Do I 
not owe it a thrill of as fine joy as I ever 
knew ? Faith ! it was not unfamiliar to 
me. It had been a daily sight for years. 
In meeting the Baron Stahl I had found 
the diamond. 

The Baron Stahl was, then, the thief? 
Not at all. My valet, as of course you 
have been all along aware, was the thief. 

The Marquis of G. took down Mme. 
de St. Cyr ; Stahl preceded me, with Del- 
phine. As we sat at table, G. was at the 
right, I at the left of our hostess. Next 
G. sat Delphine ; below her, the Baron ; 
so that we were nearly vis-a-vis. I was 
now as fully convinced that Mme. de 
St. Cyr's cellar was the one, as the day 
before I had been that the other was ; 
I longed to reach it. Hay had given 
the stone to a butler doubtless this 
the moment of its theft ; but, not being 
aware of Mme. de St. Cyr's previous 
share in the adventure, had probably not 
afforded her another. And thus I con- 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



167 



eluded her to be ignorant of the game 
we were about to play ; and I imagined, 
with the interest that one carries into a 
romance, the little preliminary scene be- 
tween the Baron and Madame that must 
have already taken place, being charmed 
by the cheerfulness with which she en- 
dured the loss of the promised reward. 

As the Baron entered the dining-room, 
I saw him withdraw his glove, and move 
the jewelled hand across his hair while 
passing the solemn butler, who gave it a 
quick recognition ; the next moment we 
were seated. It was a dinner a la Russe ; 
that is, only wines were on the table, 
clustered around a central ornament, 
a bunch of tall silver rushes and flag- 
leaves, on whose airy tip danced fleurs- 
de-lis of frosted silver, a design of Del- 
phine's, the dishes being on side-tables, 
from which the guests were served as 
they signified their choice of the vari- 
ety on their cards. Our number not be- 
ing large, and the custom so informal, 
rendered it pleasant. 

I had just finished my oysters and was 
pouring out a glass of Chablis, when an- 
other plate was set before the Baron. 

" His Excellency has no salt," mur- 
mured the butler, at the same time 
placing one beside him. A glance, at 
entrance, had taught me that most of 
the service was uniform ; this dainty lit- 
tle saliere I had noticed on the buffet, soli- 
tary, and unlike the others. What a fool 
had I been! Those gaps in the Baron's 
remarks caused by the paving-stones, 
how easily were they to be supplied ! 

' Madame ?" 

Madame clc St. Cyr. 

" The cellar ? " 

A salt-cellar. 

How quick the flash that enlightened 
me while I surveyed the saliere ! 

" It "is exquisite ! Am I never to sit 
at your table but some new device 
charms me ? " I exclaimed. " Is it your 
design, Mademoiselle ?" I said, turning 
to Dolphine. 

Delphine, who had been ice to all the 
Baron's advances, only curled her lip. 
" Des babioles ! " she said. 



" Yes, indeed," cried Mme. de St. 
Cyr, extending her hand for it. " But 
none the less her taste. Is it not a fairy 
thing? A Cellini! Observe this curve, 
these lines ! but one man could have 
drawn them ! " and she held it for our 
scrutiny. It was a tiny hand and arm 
of ivory, parting the foam of a wave and 
holding a golden shell, in which the salt 
seemed to have crusted itself as if in 
some secretest ocean-hollow. I looked 
at the Baron a moment ; his eyes were 
fastened upon the saliere, and all the 
color had forsaken his cheeks, his face 
counted his years. The diamond was 
in that little shell. But how to obtain 
it ? I had no novice to deal with ; noth- 
ing but delicate finesse would answer. 

" Permit me to examine it," I said. 
She passed it to her left hand for me 
to take. The butler made a step for- 
ward. 

" Meanwhile, Madame," said the Bar- 
on, smiling, " I have no salt." 

The instinct of hospitality prevailed ; 
she was about to return it. Might I 
do an awkward thing? Unhesitatingly. 
Reversing my glass, I gave my arm a 
wider sweep than necessary, and, as it 
met her hand with violence, the saliere 
fell. Before it touched the floor I 
caught it. There was still a pinch of 
salt left, nothing more. 

" A thousand pardons ! " I said, and 
restored it to the Baron. 

His Excellency beheld it with dismay ; 
it was rare to see him bend over and 
scrutinize it with starting eyes. 

" Do you find there what Count Ar- 
naldos begs in the song," asked Del- 
phine, "the secret of the sea, Mon- 
sieur ? " 

He handed it to the butler, observ- 
ing, " I find here no " 

" Salt, Monsieur ? " replied the man, 
who did not doubt but all had gone 
right, and replenished it. 

Had one told me in the morning that 
no intricate manoeuvres, but a simple 
blunder, would efTect this, I might have 
met him in the Bois de Boulogne. 

" We will not quarrel," said my neigh- 



168 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



bor, lightly, with reference to the popular 
superstition. 

" Rather propitiate the offended dei- 
ties by a crumb tossed over the shoul- 
der," added I. 

" Over the left ? " asked the Baron, to 
intimate his knowledge of another idiom, 
together with a reproof for my gaucherie. 

"A gauche, quelquefois c'estjustement 
a droit" I replied. 

" Salt in any pottage," said Madame, a 
little uneasily, " is like surprise in an indi- 
vidual ; it brings out the flavor of every 
ingredient, so my cook tells me." 

" It is a preventive of palsy," I re- 
marked, as the slight trembling of my 
adversary's finger caught my eye. 

,"And I have noticed that a taste for 
it is peculiar to those who trace their 
blood to Galitzin,' continued Madame. 

" Let us, therefore, elect a deputation 
to those mines near Cracow," said Del- 
phine. 

" To our cousins, the slaves there ? " 
laughed her mother. 

" I must vote to lay your bill on the 
table, Mademoiselle," I rejoined. 

" But with a boule blanche, Mon- 
sieur ? " 

"As the salt has been laid on the 
floor," said the Baron. 

Meanwhile, as this light skirmishing 
proceeded, my sleeve and Mme. de 
St. Cyr's. dress were slightly powdered, 
but I had not seen the diamond. The 
Baron, bolder than I, looked under the 
table, but made no discovery. I was on 
the point of dropping my napkin to ac- 
complish a similar movement, when my 
accommodating neighbor dropped hers. 
To restore it, I stooped. There it lay, 
large and glowing, the Sea of Splendor, 
the Moon of Milk, the Torment of my 
Life, on the carpet, within half an inch 
of a lady's slipper. Mademoiselle de 
St. Cyr's foot had prevented the Baron 
from seeing it ; now it moved and un- 
consciously covered it. All was as I 
wished. I hastily restored the napkin, 
and looked steadily at Delphine, so 
steadily, that she perceived some mean- 
ing^ as she had already suspected a game. 



By my sign she understood me, pressed 
her foot upon the stone and drew it near- 
er. In France we do not remain at table 
until unfit for a lady's society, we rise 
with them. Delphine needed to drop nei- 
ther napkin nor handkerchief; she com- 
posedly stooped and picked up the stone, 
so quickly that no one saw what it was. 

" And the diamond ? " said the Baron 
to the butler, rapidly, as he passed. 

" It was in the saliere ! " whispered the 
astonished creature. 

In the drawing-room I sought the Mar- 
quis. 

" To-day I was to surrender you your 
property," I said ; " it is here." 

" Do you know," he replied, " I thought 
I must have been mistaken ? " 

" Any of our volatile friends here 
might have been," I resumed ; " for us 
it is impossible. Concerning this, when 
you return to France, I will relate the 
incidents ; at present, there are those who 
will not hesitate to take life to obtain its 
possession. The diligence leaves in twen- 
ty minutes ; and if I owned the diamond, 
it should not leave me behind. More- 
over, who knows what a day may bring 
forth ? To-morrow there may be an 
emeute. Let me restore the thing as 
you withdraw." 

The Marquis, who is not, after all, the 
Lion of England, pausing a moment to 
transmit my words from his ear to his 
brain, did not afterward delay to make 
inquiries or adieux, but went to seek 
Mme. de St. Cyr and wish her good- 
night, on his departure from Paris. As 
I awaited his return, which I knew would 
not be immediate, Delphine left the Bar- 
on and joined me. 

" You beckoned me ? " she asked. 

" No, I did not." 

" Nevertheless, I come by your desire, 
I am sure." 

" Mademoiselle," I said, " I am not in 
the custom of doing favors ; I have for- 
sworn them. But before you return me 
my jewel, I risk my head and render one 
last one, and to you." 

" Do not, Monsieur, at such price," 



1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



169 



she responded, with a slight mocking mo- 
tion of her hand. 

" Delphine ! those resolves, last night, 
in the cellar, were daring; they were 
noble, yet they were useless." 

She had not started, but a slight tremor 
ran over her person and vanished while 
I spoke. 

" They will be allowed to proceed no 
farther, the axe is sharpened ; for the 
last man who adjusted his mask was a 
spy, was the Secretary of the Secret 
Service." 

Delphine could not have grown paler 
than was usual with her of late. She 
flashed her eye upon me. 

" He was, it may be, Monsieur him- 
self," she said. 

"I do not claim the honor of that 
post." 

" But you were there, nevertheless, 
a spy ! " 

" Hush, Delphine ! It would be ab- 
surd to quarrel. I was there for the 
recovery of this stone, having heard that 
it was in a cellar, which, stupidly 
enough, I had insisted should be a wine- 
cellar." 

" It was, then " 

"In a salt-cellar, a blunder which, 
as you do not speak English, you can- 
not comprehend. I never mix with trea- 
son, and did not wish to assist at your 
pastimes. I speak now, that you may 
escape." 

" If Monsieur betrays his friends, the 
police, why should I expect a kinder 
fate ? " 

" When I use the police, they are my 
servants, not my friends. I simply warn 
you, that, before sunrise, you will be 
safer travelling than sleeping, safer 
next week in Vienna than in Paris." 

" Thank you ! And the intelligence 
is the price of the diamond ? If I had 
not chanced to pick it up, my throat," 
and she clasped it with her fingers, " had 
been no slenderer than the others ? " 

" Delphine, will you remember, should 

you have occasion to do so in Vienna, 

that it is just possible for an Englishman 

to have affections, and sentiments, and, 

VOL. m. 11 



in fact, sensations ? that, with him, 
friendship can be inviolate, and to be- 
tray it an impossibility ? And even were 
it not, I, Mademoiselle, have not the 
pleasure to be classed by you as a 
friend." 

" You err. I esteem Monsieur highly." 

I was impressed by her coolness. 

" Let me see if you comprehend the 
matter," I demanded. 

" Perfectly. The arrest will be used 
to-night, the guillotine to-morrow." 

" You will take immediate measures 
for flight ? " 

" No, I do not see that life has value. 
I shall be the debtor of him who takes it." 

" A large debt. Delphine, I exact a 
promise of you. I do not care to have 
endangered myself for nothing. It is not 
worth while to make your mother unhap- 
py. Life is not yours to throw away. I 
appeal to your magnanimity." 

" ' Affections, sentiments, sensations ! ' " 
she quoted. " Your own danger for the 
affection, it is an affair of the heart! 
Mine, de St. Cyr's unhappiness, there 
is the sentiment. You are angry, Mon- 
sieur, that must be the sensation." 

" Delphine, I am waiting." 

" Ah, well. You have mentioned Vi- 
enna, and why ? Liberals are counte- 
nanced there ? " 

" Not in the least. But Madame 1'Am- 
bassadrice will be countenanced." 

" I do not know her." 

" We are not apt to know ourselves." 

" Monsieur, how idle are these cross- 
purposes ! " she said, folding her fan. 

" Delphine," I continued, taking the 
fan, " tell me frankly which of these 
two men you prefer, the Marquis or 
his Excellency." 

" The Marquis ? He is antiphlogistic, 
he is ice. Why should I freeze my- 
self? I am frozen now, I need fire ! " 

Her eyes burned as she spoke, and a 
faint red flushed her cheek. 

" Mademoiselle, you demonstrate to me 
that life has yet a value to you." 

" I find no fire," she said, as the flush 
fell away. 

" The Baron ? " 



In a Cellar. 



[February, 



" I do not affect him." 

" You will conquer your prejudice in 
Vienna." 

" I do not comprehend you, Monsieur ; 
you speak in riddles, which I do not 
like." 

" I will speak plainer. But first let 
me ask you for the diamond." 

" The diamond ? It is yours ? How am 
I certified of it ? I find it on the floor ; 
you say it was in my mother's saliere ; it 
is her affair, not mine. No, Monsieur, I 
do not see that the thing is yours." 

Certainly there was nothing to be done 
but to relate the story, which I did, care- 
fully omitting the Baron's name. At its 
conclusion, she placed the prize in my 
hand. 

" Pardon, Monsieur," she said ; " with- 
out doubt you should receive it. And 
this agent of the government, one could 
turn him like hot iron in this vice, who 
was he ? " 

" The Baron Stahl." 

All this time G. had been waiting on 
thorns, and, leaving her now, I approach- 
ed him, displayed for an instant the treas- 
ure on my palm, and slipped it into his. 
It was done. I bade farewell to this Eye 
of Morning and Heart of Day, this thing 
that had caused me such pain and per- 
plexity and pleasure, with less envy and 
more joy than I thought myself capable 
of. The relief and buoyancy that seized 
me, as his hand closed upon it, I shall not 
attempt to portray. An abdicated king 
was not freer. 

The Marquis departed, and I, wander- 
ing round the salon, was next stranded 
upon the Baron. He was yet hardly 
sure of himself. We talked indifferently 
for a few moments, and then I ventured 
on the great loan. He was, as became 
him, not communicative, but scarcely 
thought it would be arranged. I then 
spoke of Delphine. 

" She is superb ! " said the Baron, star- 
ing at her boldly. 

She stood opposite, and, in her white 
attire on the background of the blue 
curtain, appeared like an impersona- 
tion of Greek genius relieved upon the 



blue of an Athenian heaven. Her se- 
vere and classic outline, her pallor, her 
downcast lids, her absorbed look, only 
heightened the resemblance. -Her rev- 
erie seemed to end abruptly, the same 
red stained her cheek again, her lips 
curved in a proud smile, she raised 
her glowing eyes and observed us re- 
garding her. At too great distance to 
hear our words, she quietly repaid our 
glances in the strength of her new de- 
cision, and then, turning, began to enter- 
tain those next her with an unwonted 
spirit. 

" She has needed," I replied to the 
Baron, "but one thing, to be aroused, 
to be kindled. See, it is done ! I have 
thought that a life of cabinets and policy 
. might achieve this, for her talent is sec- 
ond not even to her beauty." 

"It is unhappy that both should be 
wasted," said the Baron. " She, of 
course, will never marry." 

" Why not ? " 

" For various reasons." 

" One ? " 

" She is poof." 

" Which will not signify to your Ex- 
cellency. Another ? " 

" She is too beautiful. One would fall 
in love with her. And to love one's 
own wife it is ridiculous ! " 

" Who should know ? " I asked. 

" All the world would suspect and 
laugh." 

" Let those laugh that win." 

" No, she would never do as a wife ; 
but then as " 

" But then in France we do not insult 
hospitality ! " 

The Baron transferred his gaze to me 
for a moment, then tapped his snuff-box, 
and approached the circle round Del- 
phine. 

It was odd that we, the arch enemies 
of the hour, could speak without the in- 
tervention of seconds ; but I hoped that 
the Baron's conversation might be divert- 
ing, the Baron hoped that mine might 
be didactic. 

They were very gay with Delphine. 
He leaned on the back of a chair and 






1859.] 



In a Cellar. 



171 



listened. One spoke of the new gallery 
of the Tuileries, and the five pavilions, 
a remark which led us to architecture. 

" We all build our own houses," said 
Delphine, at last, " and then complain 
that they cramp us here, and the wind 
blows in there, while the fault is not in 
the order, but in us, who increase here 
and shrink there without reason." 

"*You speak in metaphors," said the 
Baron. 

" Precisely. A truth is often more 
visible veiled than nude." 

" We should soon exhaust the orders," 
I interposed ; " for who builds like his 
neighbor ? " 

" Slight variations, Monsieur ! Though 
we take such pains to conceal the style, it 
is not difficult to tell the order of archi- 
tecture chosen by the builders in this 
room. My mother, for instance, you 
perceive that her pavilion would be the 
florid Gothic." 

" Mademoiselle's is the Doric," I said. 

" Has been," she murmured, with a 
quick glance. 

" And mine, Mademoiselle ? " asked 
the Baron, indifferently. 

" Ah, Monsieur," she returned, looking 
serenely upon him, " when one has all 
the winning cards in hand and yet loses 
the stake, we allot him un pavilion clii- 
nois" which was the polite way of dub- 
bing him Court Fool. 

The Baron's eyes fell. Vexation and 
alarm were visible on his contracted 
brow. He stood in meditation for some 
time. It must have been evident to him 
that Delphine knew of the recent occur- 
rences, that here in Paris she could de- 
nounce him as the agent of a felony, the 
participant of a theft What might pre- 
vent it ? Plainly but one thing : no 
woman would denounce her husband. 
He had scarcely contemplated this step 
on arrival. 

The guests were again scattered in 
groups round the room. I examined an 
engraving on an adjacent table. Del- 
phine reclined as lazily in a fauteuil as 
if her life did not hang in the balance. 
The Baron drew near. 



" Mademoiselle," said he, " you allotted 
me just now a cap and bells. If two 
should wear it ? if I should invite an- 
other into my pavilion chinois? if I 
should propose to complete an alliance, 
desired by my father, with the ancient 
family of St. Cyr? if, in short, Made- 
moiselle, I should request you to be- 
come my wife ? " 

" Eh, bien, Monsieur, and if you 
should ? " I heard her coolly reply. 

But it was no longer any business 
of mine. I rose and sought Mine, de 
St. Cyr, who, I thought, was slightly 
uneasy, perceiving some mystery to be 
afloat. After a few words, I retired. 

Archimedes, as perhaps you have nev- 
er heard, needed only a lever to move 
the world. Such a lever I had put into 
the hands of Delphine, with which she 
might move, not indeed the grand globe, 
with its multiplied attractions, relations, 
and affinities, but the lesser world of cir- 
cumstances, of friends and enemies, the 
circle of hopes, fears, ambitions. There 
is no woman, as I believe, but could have 
used it. 

The next day was scarcely so quiet in 
the city as usual. The great loan had 
not been negotiated. Both the Baron 
Stahl and the English minister had left 
Paris, and there was a coup d'etat, 

But the Baron did not travel alone. 
There had been a ceremony at midnight 
in the Church of St. Sulpice, and her 
Excellency the Baroness Stahl, ne'e de 
St. Cyr, accompanied him. 

It is a good many years since. I have 
seen the diamond in the Duchess of X.'s 
coronet, at the drawing-room, often, but 
I have never seen Delphine. The Mar- 
quis begged me to retain the chain, and 
I gave myself the pleasure of presenting 
it, through her mother, to the Baroness 
Stahl. I hear, that, win-never slit; desires 
to effect any cherished object which the 
Baron opposes, she has only to wear this 
chain, and effect it It appears to pos- 
sess a magical power, and its potent spell 
enslaves the Baron as the lamp and ring 
of Eastern tales enslaved the Afrites. 



172 



Hamlet at the Boston. 



[February, 



The life she leads has aroused her. She 
is no longer the impassive Silence ; she 
has found her fire. I hear of her as the 
charm of a brilliant court, as the soul of 
a nation of intrigue. Of her beauty one 
does not speak, but her talent is called 
prodigious. What impels me to ask the 
idle question, If it were well to save her 
life for this? Undoubtedly she fills a 
station which, in that empire, must be 
the summit of a woman's ambition. Del- 
phine's Liberty was not a principle, but 
a dissatisfaction. The Baroness Stahl 
is vehement, is Imperialist, is successful. 
While she lives, it is on the top of the 
wave ; when she dies, ah ! what busi- 
ness has Death in such a world ? 



As I said, I have never seen Delphine 
since her marriage. The beautiful statu- 
esque girl occupies a niche into which 
the blazing and magnificent intrigante 
cannot crowd. I do not wish to be dis- 
illusioned. She has read me a riddle, 
Delphine is my Sphinx. 

As for Mr. Hay, I once said the An- 
tipodes were tributary to me, not think- 
ing that I should ever become tributary 
to the Antipodes. But such is the case ; 
since, partly through my instrumentality, 
that enterprising individual has been lo- 
cated in their vicinity, where diamonds 
are not to be had for the asking, and 
the greatest rogue is not a Baron. 



HAMLET AT THE BOSTON. 

WE sit before the row of evening lamps, 

Each in his chair, 
Forgetful of November dusks and damps, 

And wintry air. 

A little gulf of music intervenes, 

A bridge of sighs, 
Where still the cunning of the curtain screens 

Art's paradise. 

My thought transcends those viols' shrill delight, 

The booming bass, 
And towards the regions we shall view to-night 

Makes hurried pace : 

The painted castle, and the unneeded guard 

That ready stand ; 
The harmless Ghost, that walks with helm unbarred 

And beckoning hand ; 

And, beautiful as dreams of maidenhood, 

That doubt defy, 
Young Hamlet, with his forehead grief-subdued, 

And visioning eye. 

O fair dead world, that from thy grave awak'st 
A little while, 



1859.] Hamlet at the Boston. 173 

And in our heart strange revolution mak'st 
With thy brief smile ! 

O beauties vanished, fair lips magical, 

Heroic braves ! 
mighty hearts, that held the world in thrall ! 

Come from your graves ! 

The Poet sees you through a mist of tears, 

Such depths divide 
Him, with the love and passion of his years., 

From you, inside ! 

The Poet's heart attends your buskined feet, 

Your lofty strains, 
Till earth's rude touch dissolves that madness sweet, 

And life remains : 

Life that is something while the senses heed 

The spirit's call, 
Life that is nothing when our grosser need 

Engulfs it all. 

And thou, young hero of this mimic scene, 

In whose high breast 
A genius greater than thy life hath been 

Strangely comprest ! 

Wear'st thou those glories draped about thy soul 

Thou dost present ? 
And art thou by their feeling and control 

Thus eloquent ? 

'Tis with no feigned power thou bind'st our sense, 

No shallow art ; 
Sure, lavish Nature gave thee heritance 

Of Hamlet's heart ! 

Thou dost control our fancies with a might 

So wild, so fond, 
We quarrel, passed thy circle of delight, 

With things beyond ; 

Returning to the pillows rough with care, 

And vulgar food, 
Sad from the breath of that diviner air, 

That loftier mood. 

And there we leave thee, in thy misty tent 

Watching alone ; 
While foes about thee gather imminent, 

To us scarce known. 



174 El Llanero. [February, 

Oh, when the lights are quenched, the music hushed, 

The plaudits still, 
Heaven keep the fountain, whence the fair stream gushed, 

From choking ill ! 

Let Shakspeare's soul, that wins the world from wrong, 

For thee avail, 
And not one holy maxim of his song 

Before thee fail ! 

So, get thee to thy couch as unreproved 

As heroes blest ; 
And all good angels, trusted in and loved, 

Attend thy rest ! 



EL LLANERO. 



De todos los Generates cual es el mejor? 

Es mi General Jose con su Guardia de Honor ! 



THE HATO. 

IT is only within a century that the 
world has become habituated to behold 
the birth of nations, and already the 
spectacle has grown too common to at- 
tract more than transitory notice. In 
the sluggish days that preceded the rev- 
olutionary efforts of our fathers, a nation- 
ality was fixed, seemingly immutable, the 
growth of scarcely numbered ages, the 
daughter of immemorial Time. A people 
then could place its hand upon its title- 
deeds, and, looking back through half a 
score of centuries, trace its gradual de- 
velopment from nothingness to power. 
To-day, on the contrary, to use a some- 
what daring metaphor, nations have 
become autochthonous ; they have repu- 
diated the feeble processes of conception 
and tutelage ; they spring, armed and 
full-grown, from the forehead of their 
progenitors, or rise, in sudden ripeness, 
from the soil. 

Thousands must now be living, the 
citizens of prosperous states, who can 



recall the days when they had entered 
upon manhood and yet the name itself 
of their nation had no existence. How 
many, indeed, are still among us, to whom 
nations owe the impetus that gave them 
birth ! Prominent, at least, among those 
who can lay claim to such distinction, 
there still stands one whose career it 
were well, perhaps, to study. We will 
endeavor to profit by a glance at it. 

With this intent let us transport our- 
selves in' imagination to the Llanos or 
Plains of Venezuela. It is a region 
similar in some respects, widely dissimi- 
lar in others, to the more celebrated 
Pampas of the regions to the sofith. 
The wonderful plain, covering more than 
two hundred thousand square miles, and 
forming the basin of the gigantic Orino- 
co, is a study in itself. The stranger 
who descends upon the vast savanna from 
the mountains that line and defend the 
coast is impressed with the momentary 
belief, when his eye for the first time 
sweeps over the level immensity, that he 
is again approaching the sea. From the 
hilly country through which he has toil- 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



175 



ed, he beholds at his feet a limitless and 
dusky plain, smooth as an ocean in re- 
pose, but undulating, like it, in gigantic 
sweeps and curves. The Llanos that 
he sees spread out before, him thus are 
one huge and exuberant pasture. Like 
the Pampas of Buenos Ayres, they are 
the support of myriads of roaming cattle ; 
but, unlike them, they are intersected by 
numerous rivers, and suffer rather from 
excess than from lack of moisture. The 
Orinoco sweeps, in turbid magnificence, 
frouj west to east ' traversing their entire 
breadth ; and its countless tributaries 
seam in every direction the immense 
plain thus divided, and frequently by 
their unmanageable floods turn it for 
thousands of miles into a lake. 

The dwellers in this region have a 
character no less distinctive than that 
of the Plains themselves. At long in- 
tervals, sometimes scores of miles apart, 
their habitations are established; but 
their home is the saddle. Innumerable 
herds of cattle and of horses turn to ac- 
count the pasturage of the rich savanna ; 
and the true Llanero exists only as guar- 
dian or proprietor of these savage hosts, 
lie is as much at home in this trackless 
expanse of rank vegetation as the mar- 
iner navigating a familiar sea. There 
are no roads in the Llanos ; but he can 
gallop unerringly to any given point, be 
it hundreds of miles away. There are 
no boundaries to the huge estates ; but 
he knows when the cattle he is set to 
protect are grazing ugon their own terri- 
tory or upon that of a neighbor. He leads 
a life in which the extremes of solitari- 
ness and of activity are combined. Sep- 
arated from his nearest neighbor by a 
journey of half a day, visited only rare- 
ly at his hato or farm-house by some cas- 
ual traveller, or by the itinerant Cali- 
cian peddler, whom he contemptuously 
denominates the merca-chiftes, the silent 
horsenun lives wrapt up in ignorance of 
all but the care of the roving beasts that 
are intrusted to his vigilance. 

Let us glance somewhat more nearly 
at the Llanero in his home. If we are 
able to obtain an elevated view of the 



savanna, let us say, in the Llanos which 
constitute the Province of Barinas, and 
through which the Apure rolls its rapid 
current to swell the volume of the Orino- 
co, we shall observe, at distant intervals 
upon the plain, irregular groups of palm- 
trees surmounting the wavy level of the 
grass. These isolated clumps or groves, 
called matas in the provincial idiom, form 
the landmarks of the Venezuelan Plains ; 
and in the neighborhood of each we shall 
find the hato or dwelling of a Llanero. 
The building, we shall find in ever)' case, 
is a roughly-constructed hut, consisting of 
a floor raised a couple of feet above the 
spongy soil, and covered with a steep roof 
of palm-branches, with perhaps a thatch 
composed of the leaves of the same inval- 
uable tree. A rough partition of mud-plas- 
tered twigs divides the Llauero's dwelling 
into unequal apartments ; the lesser be- 
ing reserved for the use of the females of 
the household, while the larger, furnish- 
ed with half-a-dozen hides, the skin of a 
jaguar, and a couple of benches or stools 
ingeniously manufactured from bamboo, 
is the general reception-room, sleeping- 
apartment, and workshop for the hatero, 
when the floods are out, or when he takes 
a fancy at other times to shelter his head 
beneath a roof. A few rods from the 
dwelling is the corral or cattle-pen, a 
large oval inclosure, into which, at ir- 
regular intervals, he drives his herds for 
purposes of branding or enumeration ; 
and near the corral two or three impa- 
tient horses, shackled with a thong con- 
fining the forelegs, are grazing. 

The cattle-farms or hatos of the Plains 
are owned, for the most part, by the 
Creole residents of the cities which dot 
their outskirts, but are inhabited only by 
the semibarbarous hateros, who attend to 
the few requirements of the stock, and 
slaughter the annual supply. The hatero, 
although a descendant, and proud that 
he is so, of the Spanish settlers, has much 
intermixture of Indian and negro blood 
in his veins. Few of the Llaneron, in- 
deed, could show a pedigree in which the 
Castilian blood was not sorely attenuated 
and diluted with that of half-a-dozen In- 



176 



El Llanero. 



[February, 



dian or negro progenitors. He is born 
on the Llanos, as were his ancestors for 
many generations ; and he has no concep- 
tion of a land in which cattle-plains are 
unknown, and where the carcass of an 
animal is of more value than the hide. 
His ideas are restricted to his occupa- 
tion, and his religious notions limited to 
the traditional instruction handed down 
from the days when his forefathers lived 
amid civilized men, or to the casual teach- 
ing of some fervent missionary, who de- 
votes himself to the spiritual welfare of 
these lonely dwellers on the Plains. 
Eight or ten persons at the utmost form 
a hato, and suffice for all the requirements 
of thousands of cattle. The women are 
as much accustomed to solitude as the 
men, and spend their time in domestic 
occupations, or in cultivating the little 
patch of ground upon which their supply 
of maize and cassava is grown. The oc- 
casion of their marriage is perhaps the 
only one of their visit to a town, per- 
haps their only opportunity of seeing a 
printed book. Men and women alike 
are a simple, healthy, ignorant race, 
borrowing manners, dress, and dialect 
rather from the Indian than from the 
Spanish stock. 

Such as he is, nevertheless, and for 
the purposes which his existence sub- 
serves, the true Llanero is indeed well 
placed in his peculiar region. A man 
of middle stature, usually of broad and 
powerful build, short-necked, with square 
head and narrow forehead, and with 
eyes that would be black, if it were not 
for the fire that flickers in them with a 
carbuncle-like intensity. From the hips 
upward the Llanero is straight and well- 
proportioned ; but his constant equitation 
curves and bandies his legs in a manner 
plainly visible whenever he attempts to 
walk. His distinctive costume consists 
of the calzones, or cotton breeches, reach- 
ing a little below the knee, a tunic or 
smock-frock of the same material, con- 
fined about his waist with a thong of 
leather, into which he thrusts his formi- 
dable machete or cutlass, and the inev- 
itable poncho, that many-colored blan- 



ket which the entire Spanish-American 
race has adopted at the hands of the 
vanquished Indians, and which he uses 
as cloak, as pillow, as bed, and sometimes 
as saddle. Boots he has none, nor shoes ; 
but perhaps he may fasten strips of raw 
hide to his feet by way of sandals, and 
a piece of raw hide covers, in all proba- 
bility, his head. He cares little for orna- 
ment, since there are so few about him to 
admire display ; and all his pride is con- 
centrated in the steed that bears him, the 
lasso that he can throw with such uner- 
ring aim, and the heavy lance that he 
uses in driving his ferocious cattle, or as 
a death-dealing weapon when he is called 
upon to take part in some partisan war- 
fare. 

Upon his hato, perhaps, there are be- 
tween one and two hundred thousand 
head of cattle and horses, guarded here 
and there by isolated posts of a nature 
similar to his own. The animals, savage 

' O 

from their birth, roam the plain in droves 
of many hundreds, each herd command- 
ed by two or three bulls or stallions, whose 
authority is no less despotic than that of 
the colonel of a Russian regiment. They 
sweep from feeding-ground to feeding- 
ground, galloping eight or ten abreast, 
headed by scouts, and suffering no human 
being or strange animal to cross their path. 
As the dusky squadron hurries, like an 
incarnate whirlwind, from one point to 
another, every one prudently withdraws 
from their irresistible advance ; and in- 
stances have occurred in which large 
bodies of troops, marching across the 
Plains, have been scattered and routed 
by an accidental charge of some such 
wild-eyed regiment. At certain inter- 
vals, la hierra, the branding, takes place ; 
when drove after drove are dexterously 
compelled within the walls of the corral, 
and there marked with the initials or 
cipher of the proprietor. This is the 
great festival of the hatero, and he invites 
to it all his neighbors for scores of leagues 
around. The bellowing cattle, the plung- 
ing steeds, the excitement of lassoing some 
bull more refractory than usual, the hiss- 
ins of the iron as it sears the brand- 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



177 



mark deep into the animal's hide, all 
these are elements of exquisite enjoy- 
ment to the unsophisticated Rarey of the 
Plains. His great delight, on such occa- 
sions, is to display his skill in lassoing an 
untamed colt, or in performing the feat 
called to colear a bull. He selects from 
the suspicious herd some fine young 
three-year old, grazing somewhat apart 
from the main body, and crfeeps silently 
towards it. Suddenly the lasso flies in 
snaky coils over the head of the beast, 
and is drawn with strangulating tightness 
about its neck. At the first plunge, a 
brother hatero lassoes the animal's hind 
legs, and it is permitted to rear and kick 
as frantically as it can, until it drops to 
the ground exhausted and strangled. 
The Llanero immediately approaches the 
prostrate colt, and deliberately beats its 
head with a heavy bludgeon until it be- 
comes quite senseless. He then places 
his saddle upon its back, adjusts a mur- 
derous bit in its clammy mouth, and seats 
himself firmly in the saddle at the mo- 
ment when the animal recovers strength 

D 

enough to rise. The fearful plunges, 
the wild bounds, the vicious attempts 
at biting, which ensue, are all in vain ; 
in a couple of days he subsides into a 
mere high-spirited trotter, whom one 
can ride with ease after once effecting 
a mount 

The pastime of " tailing " a bull is 
somewhat singular. Two or three horse- 
men single out an animal upon which to 
practise it, and secure a lasso about its 
horns. Another lasso, deftly thrown about 
its hind legs, is fastened to a tree, and 
the strongest of the party then seizes the 
bellowing beast by its tail, which he twists 
until his victim falls over on its side and 
is dispatched. The greatest dexterity is 
required in this manoeuvre by all practis- 
ing it, as the slacking of either lasso en- 
ables the bull to turn upon his caudal 
persecutor, who is certain to be gored to 
death. This, indeed, not unfrequently 
happens. But a Llanero cares little for 
death. He faces it daily in his lonely 
converse with thousands of intractable 
beasts, in his bath in the river swarming 



with alligators, in the swamp Deeming 
with serpents, against whose poison there 
is no "antidote, and whose bite will de- 
stroy the life of a man in a single hour. 
Content with the wild excitement of his 
daily round of duty and recreation, with 
his meal of dried beef and cassava-cake, 
washed down, it is likely, with a gourdful 
of guarapo, a species of rum, in compari- 
son with which the New England bev- 
erage is innocent and weak, and with the 
occasional recurrence of some such tur- 
bulent festival as that of the branding, 
he cares nothing for the future, and be- 
stows no thought upon the past. The 
Llanero may be called a happy man. 



II. 

EL ARAURENSE. 

Two years more than half a century 
ago there lived a Creole trader of some 
wealth in the little town of Araure, in 
the province of Barinas, upon the out- 
skirts of the Llanos. Don Jose had a stal- 
wart son, aged about sixteen, whom he 
had trained to active usefulness amid the 
monotonous ease of the torrid little muni- 
cipality. Young Jose" Antonio had re- 
ceived, it is true, only a scanty education, 
but he could sign his name, could verify 
a calculation, and had a shrewd, quick 
head for business. The doctors-of-law, 
tolerably numerous even in little Araure, 
pronounced him born for a jurist, and he 
was a godsend to the litigious natives 
of the Captain-Generalcy. The hide- 
and-tallow merchants nodded knowingly, 
as he passed them in the street with a 
good-humored Adios, and predicted great 
fortunes for the lad as a future man-of- 
business. The Cura thought k a pity 
that he should prefer the society of the 
dusky 'beauties of Araure to the more 
hallowed enjoyments of preparation for 
a priestly lite. And all the while quite 
other destinies were held in store by 
Fate. The remissness of a mercantile cor- 
respondent of his father altered the cur- 
rent of his life, and mightily influenced, 
even to the present day, the fortunes of 
his country. 



178 



El Llanero. 



[February, 



A sum was owing to Don Jose by a 
trader of Capudare, and he intrusted his 
son with the task of collecting the- debt. 
One fine day, in the spring of 1807, the 
lad accordingly set out, in high spirits at 
his important mission, armed with a brace 
of pistols and a cutlass, and mounted on 
a trusty mule. The money was duly col- 
lected, but, as young Jose Antonio jour- 
neyed home with it, a rumor of his pre- 
cious charge was spread, and he was be- 
set in a lonely by-path by four highway- 
men. The pistols flashed from Jose's hol- 
sters, and one of the churriunes fell the 
next moment with a bullet in his brain. 
Instantly presenting the second pistol, 
which was not loaded, he advanced up- 
on the remaining three, who fell back 
in consternation, and fled, panic-stricken, 
from the boy. Jose Antonio was left 
alone with the highwayman's corpse. It 
was no light thing in Venezuela to com- 
mit a homicide without testimony of in- 
nocence, and young Jose hastened home- 
wards with his treasure, in a state of trep- 
idation far greater than any the living 
highwaymen could have inspired. Even 
in his parents' dwelling, he dreaded, ev- 
ery moment, the arrival of an order for 
his arrest, and to appease his groundless 
anxiety his lather shortly suggested that 
he should take refuge upon the Llanos, 
the Sherwood of Venezuelan Robin 
Hoods. The youth was delighted with 
the idea, and engaged himself as herds- 
man in the service of Don Manuel Pulido, 
a wealthy proprietor, whom he served so 
well that he was very quickly advanced 
to a position of confidence and command. 
In a few months the slayer of the churrion 
had learned to smile at his recent appre- 
hensions j but the wild life of the liato had 
already thrown around him its subtle fas- 
cination, and the sprightly youth of. Arau- 
re had become a naturalized son of the 
Plains. Soon few were able like young 
Jose to break an untried steed ; few 
wielded more dexterously the lasso, or 
could drive with more unerring force the 
jagged lance into the side of a galloping 
bull. Clad in poncho and calzones, he 
scoured the vast plain of La Calzada, 



acquiring, at the same time with manual 
dexterity and physical hardihood, the 
affections, still more important, of the 
wild Llaneros with whom only he asso- 
ciated. The lad of eighteen, scarcely 
two years a denizen of the Plains, pos- 
sessed all the influence and authority of 
the hoariest Llanero; and now the pre- 
dictions ran that this daring Jose Antonio 
would one da,y be the most successful cat- 
tle-farmer in Venezuela ! 



m. 

EL TEMBLOK. 

WE must leave young Jose among 
his comrades of the halo for a while, 
and glance at the contemporaneous 
doings of anointed heads, whose desti- 
nies were strangely interwoven with his 
own. 

Far away across the Atlantic, in the 
shadow of the Pyrenees, events had been 
developing themselves to the consumma- 
tion that should overturn a splendid 
throne, shake Europe to its foundations, 
and electrify Spanish America with a 
sympathetic current of revolution, flash- 
ing from the pines of Oregon to the 
deserts of Patagonia. 

The mysterious treachery of Bayonne 
was consummated. Joseph, brother of 
Napoleon, reigned on the throne of which 
King Charles had been perfidiously de- 
spoiled. Ferdinand, heir to the crown of 
Spjiin and the Indies, had scarcely heard 
himself proclaimed as the seventh mon- 
arch of that name, when he had resigned 
his kingly functions to a Regency, and 
hastened into the snare which already 
held his father a captive on the soil of 
France. The astounding intelligence ar- 
rived in different parts of South Ameri- 
ca during the year 1808. The effect was 
everywhere alike. One moment of utter 
bewilderment, an instant's reeling under 
the shock of surprise, and then a mag- 
nificent outburst of loyalty from the sim- 
ple-hearted Creole population ! El Rey, 
the King, that almost mythical sover- 
eign, who was ignorantly adored as the 
personification of wisdom and benefi- 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



179 



cence, no matter how cruelly Viceroys 
might misgovern, or Captains-General 
oppress, was it possible to conceive him 
a captive, the signer of his own humilia- 
tion, the renouncer of his immemorial 
rights ? And Ferdinand, the young mon- 
arch of whom so little was known and so 
much expected, he, too, a voluntary 
prisoner, while a Frenchman reigned in 
Madrid ? This was news, iadeed, to be- 
wilder nations who had hitherto remained 
content in infantile tutelage, unconscious, 
undesirous, of the rights of men ! Ad- 
dresses, fervent with loyalty, were dis- 
patched to Spain, embodying vows of 
eternal affection towards the King, and 
of detestation of Joseph, the usurper. 
French residents in Venezuela were 
publicly execrated by the excited Cre- 
oles ; the French flag was insulted, and 
the French messengers were glad to es- 
cape with their lives from the hands of 
the infuriated Colonists. No Spanish 
monarch ever had a firmer hold upon 
the Indies than Ferdinand VII. when 
Spain was lost to him in July and August, 
1808. 

But soon there came that inevitable 
question, first in the catechism of all hu- 
man society : Whom shall we obey ? 
The King, whose hand had weighed not 
over lightly these many years, an abdi- 
cated prisoner at Bayonne ; Ferdinand 
yielding his authority into the hand of a 
nameless Regency, and his capital to the 
brother of the Corsicau Emperor ; Spain 
overrun by two hundred thousand foreign 
troops ; messengers at hand from Joseph, 
from the Regency, from the Junta of the 
Asturias, from the Junta of Seville, each 
alike asserting its right to authority over 
the Colonies, as legitimate possessors of 
jurisdiction in Spain itself! The acces- 
sion of Joseph, in fact, gave a momen- 
tary independence to Spanish Ameri- 
ca, and the royal governors were thrown 
upon their own resources for the main- 
tenance of their power. The Colonies 
were for the first time called upon to 
provide for their own defence, solicited, 
not commanded, to obey ; and they prov- 
ed their loyalty by dispatching enormous 



sums in gold and silver to the Junta at 
Cadiz, as well as by their eagerness to 
ascertain in whom actually reposed the 
lawful government of Spain. Gradually, 
however, the consciousness of their own 
entity stole over the Venezuelans and 
New Granadians, and they bethought 
them of establishing an administrative 
Junta of their own, until better times 
should dawn on Spain. Blindly im- 
prudent, the Viceroy violently opposed 
the project, and with such troops as re- 
mained in the Colonies the first Juntas 
were dispersed or massacred. Squab- 
bles ensued, until the citizens of Caracas 
quietly deposed the chief Colonial au- 
thorities, and appointed a Junta Supremo, 
to administer affairs in the name of Fer- 
dinand VII. Intelligence of this step, 
however, was received with great alarm 
by the sapient Junta of Cadiz, and a proc- 
lamation was launched, on the 31st of 
August, 1810, declaring the Province of 
Caracas in a state of rigorous blockade. 
A war of manifestoes ensued, until the 
Provinces became enlightened as to their 
own importance and strength, and pub- 
lished, on the 5th of July, 1811, the Dec- 
lai;ation of their Independence. Scarcely 
was this done when the Spanish Cortes 
offered liberal terms of accommodation, 
but they were rejected. The nation, that 
in 1808 thought it sweet to be subject, 
declared itself, three years later, for un- 
qualified independence. The ardent rev- 
olutionist, General Miranda, was placed 
in command of some hastily-levied forces, 
and took the field against the Spanish 
commander, Don Domingo Monteverde, 
who had assumed a hostile attitude im- 
mediately after the Declaration. 

It is only necessary here to say, that, 
after some hard-fought and honorable 
fields, ' Miranda and his fellow-officers 
were completely successful. All the prin- 
cipal cities were in the hands of the Pa- 
triots before 1812 began. Monteverde, 
in January of that year, was cooped up 
in the remote province of Guiana, and 
Coro on the sea-coast was also held by 
his troops ; but elsewhere the new Re- 
public seemed fully established. Already 



180 



El Llanero. 



[February, 



the point of Constitution-making the 
crystallization-point of republics bad 
been reached. The ports of Venezuela 
were for the first time opened to foreign 
trade. Her inhabitants were no longer 
restricted from the enjoyment of the 
fruits of their own industry. A gigantic 
system of taxation had been brushed, 
like a spider's web, away. Two-thirds 
of the Captain-Generalcy, in a word, 
were free. 

There was little fear among any of the 
inhabitants of Caracas, in March, 1812, 
that they would again fall under the 
dominion of Spain. The Carnival had 
been celebrated with greater joyousness 
than in any year before ; the proverbial 
gayety of the town was doubled during 
the concluding festival of Shrove Tues- 
day ; and Lent had scarcely thrown as 
deep a shade as usual over the devoutest 
inhabitants of the city. Lent drew to a 
close, and, there was every prospect that 
Passion Week would be succeeded by a 
season of rejoicing over impending de- 
feats of the Royalist Goths in Coro and 
Guiana ; and Passion Week came. Holy 
Thursday fell on the 26th of March. 

The solemn festival was ushered in with 
the most imposing rites of the Church. 
In the great cathedral, which dwarfed all 
other buildings in the Plaza, there was 
high mass that day. The famous bell 
clanged out to all Caracas remembrance 
of the agony of our Lord. A silent 
multitude was prostrated all day long 
before the gorgeous altar. Prelates and 
priests and acolytes stood, splendid in 
vestments of purple and white and gold, 
solemnly celebrating upon the steps of 
the sanctuary the holiest mysteries of the 
Roman Catholic communion. Above and 
around, gigantic tapers flared from can- 
dlesticks of beaten gold ; and every little 
while, the glorious anthems floated forth 
in majestic cadence, eddying in waves 
of harmony about the colonnade that 
stretched in dusky perspective from the 
great door to the altar, soaring above the 
distant arches, and swelling upwards in 
floods of melody, until the vast concavity 
of the vaulted nave was filled with a sea 



of sound. But a sultry heaviness weighed 
with the incense upon the air. Elder 
citizens glanced uneasily at one anoth- 
er, and the thoughts of many wandered 
anxiously from the sacred building. Out- 
side, the streets were empty. All Cara- 
cas was engaged in public worship ; and 
the white dwellings that inclosed the 
Plaza, with its converging avenues, look- 
ed silently down upon deserted pave- 
ments, echoing only now and then to the 
careless tread of a party of negroes, or 
to the clattering heel of some undevout 
trooper. The sun had a glow as of molt- 
en copper ; the atmosphere was dense ; 
but 'not a cloud occupied the heavens. 
Towards evening the churches and the 
cathedral were again emptied, and the 
throng of worshippers, streaming out into 
the streets, prepared to witness the great 
religious procession that was to close the 
ceremonies of the holy day. Still the 
declining sun glowed with unnatural in- 
tensity of hue ; and the evening breeze 
swept over the town in unusually fitful 
and stormy gusts. The air seemed to 
be laden with mysterious melancholy, to 
sigh with a hidden presage of some aw- 
ful calamity to come. 

Of a sudden it came. A shudder, a 
tremor, a quivering shock ran, for hun- 
dreds of miles simultaneously, through 
Venezuela. A groan, swelling thunder- 
ously and threateningly into a hollow 
roar, burst from the tortured earth, and 
swallowed up in its convulsive rumbling 
the shrieks of an entire nation suddenly 
iuwrapt in the shadow and agony of 
death. For a moment, as if a super- 
natural hand were painfully lifting it 
from its inmost core, the earth rocked 
and heaved through all Venezuela and 
then, almost before the awful exclamation, 
El temblor ! had time to burst from the 
lips of that stricken nation, it bounded 
from the bonds that held it, and in a 
moment was quaking, heaving, sliding, 
surging, rolling, in awful semblance to the 
sea. Great gulfs opened and closed their 
jaws, swallowing up and again belching 
forth dwellings, churches, human beings, 
overtaken by instantaneous destruction. 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



181 



A flash and a roar passed through the 
earth, and a jagged chasm followed in 
its track, creating others in its rapid clash 
and close. Whole cities shivered, tot- 
tered, reeled, and fell in spreading heaps 
of undistinguishable ruin. In one min- 
ute and fifteen seconds, twenty thousand 
human beings perished in Venezuela ; 
and then the Earthquake of Caracas 
ceased. 

It was after four o'clock in the afternoon 
when the first subterranean shock was felt ; 
and long before five the agonized earth 
was still. Long before five, the stupefied 
survivors stood slowly recovering their 
faculties of speech and motion. Long 
before five, a piteous wail ascended to 
heaven from fathers and husbands and 
wives and mothers, desolately mourning 
the dead in the streets of Caracas, La 
Guayra, Merida, San Felipe, and Va- 
lencia. In this manner the Holy Thurs- 
day of 1812 drew toward its close. But 
the physical disasters consequent upon 
the great earthquake were of insignifi- 
cant import as compared with its moral 
effect. Colonist and Spaniard had shared 
alike in suffering and death during those 
dreadful moments; but the superstitious 
population readily accepted the interpre- 
tation which -an eager priesthood placed 
upon the event, and bowed in the belief 
that they had suffered the infliction in 
punishment of their rebellion against the 
King. Nine-tenths of the clergy and mo- 
nastic brotherhood inwardly hated and 
feared the Revolution, and their practised 
tongues drew terrible auguries for rebel- 
lious Venezuela from the recent throes 
and upheaval of the earth. Preachers 
solemnly proclaimed the fact, that this, 
without doubt, was a catastrophe akin 
to the memorable convulsion which once 
had swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram, for mutiny against the Lord ; 
and the proximate wrath of God could 
be appeased only by a retrogression into 
his chosen paths. The people listened 
to the fathers, and obeyed trembling. 
Miranda, who had struggled against ami 
overcome the material power of his ene- 
mies, was impotent when confronted by 



spiritual terrors ; and after a few lan- 
guid combats, his troops deserted, leav- 
ing Monte verde to triumph once more in 
the assertion of Spanish authority over 
every province of Venezuela. His head- 
quarters were established at Caracas, and 
there, as well as elsewhere, his troops rev- 
elled in the perfidious torture and execu- 
tion of their capitulated foes. During 
nearly two years, Monteverde reigned 
in Venezuela. 



IV. 

GUERRA A LA MUERTE ! 

YET, towards the close of 1813, the 
star of liberty glimmered once more from 
the summits of the Western Cordillera. 
During and after the memorable earth- 
quake, the city of Puerto Cabello, at that 
time held by the Patriots, was under the 
command of a young colonel in the Re- 
publican service, who had devoted a por- 
tion of his immense patrimonial wealth 
to the culture of his intellectual powers 
in European travel, (not, however, with- 
out subsequently applying a large share 
to the necessities of his country,) and 
whose name was Simon Bolivar. The 
treachery of an officer delivered the cita- 
del of Puerto Cabello into the hands of 
some Spanish prisoners who were there 
confined, and in June, 1812, Colonel 
Bolivar was compelled to evacuate the 
town with all his force. While Monte- 
verde lorded it over his country, he took 
refuge in the neighboring islands, and 
afterwards in New Granada, where he 
conceived the daring project which freed 
Venezuela, and has perpetuated, with 
his name, the simple but expressive ti- 
tle : Liberator, Libertador, 

It is not our purpose here to follow the 
intrepid partisan in his descent, with six 
hundred New Granadian adherents, from 
the Andes, upon the astounded Span- 
iards. We cannot follow him, nor the 
generals whom he created, in their mar- 
vellous marches, and still more marvel- 
lous triumphs, during many succeeding 
years. Suffice it to say, that he fell like 
a thunderbolt from a sunny sky upon t!ie 



182 



El Llanero. 



[February, 



confident Royalist troops, that he de- 
feated and routed them time after time, 
broke, with his terrible lancers, upon 
encampments which believed him a hun- 
dred miles away, and drove the Royal 
commanders, with varying success, from 
one point to another of Venezuela. His 
watchword was, Guerra d la muerte, 
" War unto death ! " Every battle-ground 
became a shamble, every flight a butch- 
ery. The system was inaugurated by 
his antagonists, who cruelly slew eight 
Patriot officers, and eight citizens of 
Barinas, shortly after the commencement 
of hostilities, under circumstances of pe- 
culiar barbarity. Thenceforward Boli- 
var's men took no prisoners. 

In the mean time, Wellington had driv- 
en the French across the Pyrenees, and 
Ferdinand the Adored ruled once more 
in Madrid. Even now, judicious man- 
agement might have secured again the 
allegiance of the Colonies ; but the first 
action of Ferdinand was to vituperate 
his American subjects as rebels, whom 
he commanded to lay down their arms 
at once; and on the 18th of February, 
1815, there sailed from Cadiz a stately 
armament intended to enforce this per- 
emptory order. Sixty-five vessels com- 
posed the fleet, bearing six regiments of 
infantry, one of dragoons, the Queen's 
hussars, artillery, sappers and miners, 
engineers, and eighteen pieces of can- 
non, besides incalculable quantities of 
arms and munitions of war. The expe- 
dition numbered fifteen thousand men, 
and was commanded in chief by the 
famous soldier, General Don Pablo Mo- 
rillo, the guerilla champion, the opposer 
of the French. 

On the 4th of April, this redoubta- 
ble army effected a landing ; and once 
more, all but an insignificant fraction 
of Venezuela fell under the hand of 
Spain. The flood of successful rebel- 
lion was rolled back from the coast, and 
Bolivar, with his dauntless partisans, 
was soon confined to the Llanos, which 
stretch away in level immensity from 
the marshy banks of the Orinoco, the 
Apure, and their tributaries. 



Our readers have already been intro- 
duced to these Llanos, and have beheld 
their wild inhabitants amid the monoto- 
nous avocations of a time of peace. Let 
us now approach them while the " blood- 
red blossom of war" blazes up from 
their torrid vegetation. Let us descend 
upon them at night, here, at no great 
distance from the banks of the cayman- 
haunted Apure, and we shall gaze upon 
a different scene. All around us, the 
plain extends in the same desolate im- 
mensity that we noticed when we looked 
upon it from the hato ; still, as before, we 
see it covered with a dense wilderness 
of reedy grasses that overtop the tall- 
est trooper in Morillo's army ; as be- 
fore, we notice the scattered palm- 
islands, breaking here and there the 
uniformity of level ; and hosts of cattle 
and wild horses are still roaming over 
the plain. 

Near a mata, or grove of palm-trees, 
there is a sound of merry voices to-night. 
Fires are crackling here and there ; huge 
strips of fresh beef are roasting on wood- 
en spits ; the long grass has been trod- 
den flat in a wide circumference, and 
three or four rudely-constructed huts 
of palm-branches close the scene on one 
side. Five hundred men a.re collected 
here, the elite of the liberators of Vene- 
zuela. Gathered about their camp-fires, 
these troopers, who have ridden a hun- 
dred miles since morning, are enjoying 
rest, refreshment, and recreation. But 
the word trooper must not conjure up a 
vision of belted horsemen, rigid in uni- 
form, with clanking sabres, and helmets 
of brass. Of a far different stamp are 
the figures reclining before us. These 
are improvised warriors, hateros, cattle- 
farmers, who, grasping their lances and 
lassos, have eagerly exchanged the mo- 
notony of pastoral life for the wild excite- 
ment of the charge upon Spanish squad- 
rons, and the ferocious slaughter of fel- 
low-men. No two of this invincible band 
are clad alike. Here is a sergeant, wear- 
ing an old and dilapidated blanket pon- 
cho-fashion, with the remains of a palm- 
leaf hat sheltering his head, and with 



1859.] El Llanero. 

limbs which a pair of ragged cahones 
make only a pretence of covering. Yet 
over his left shoulder is slung a gorgeous 
hussar-jacket, which he wears with the 
greater pride since it belonged last night 
to a lieutenant in the Queen's regiment, 
whom he slew in cold blood afler the 
fight ! Next to him leans a private, bare- 
legged and bare-headed, wearing only an 
old piece of carpet about his waist, a flan- 
nel shirt, and the uniform coat of a Span- 
ish officer, from which he has cut the 
right sleeve in order to secure greater 
freedom for his arm. A third has made 
himself a suit which Robinson Crusoe 
might have envied. Helmet, jerkin, 
breeches, sandals, all have been cut 
from the same raw bull's-hide ! His 
neighbor, a new recruit, still wears the 
national dress of his order, which has not 
yet been tattered and torn from him by 
long service ; and he is the envy of the 
motley troop. But the lack of uniformi- 
ty in no wise detracts from valor, nor 
does it diminish the gayety of these terri- 
ble lancers as they lie idly grouped about 
the flickering fires. Half-a-dozen circles 
are absorbed in as many games at cards ; 
others are swallowing greedily some im- 
provised fantastic tale ; and some are 
singing, in wild, irregular cadence, the 
favorite songs of the Plains. Their ex- 
ample soon becomes contagious, and 
group after group chimes in with the up- 
roarious chant. Listen ! From the far- 
thest extremity of the encampment comes 
a querying solo : 
" De todos los Generales cual es el valiente ? " 

and from five hundred throats the re- 



spouse is thundered : 

" Mi General Paez con toda su gente! " 

Again the solo demands : 

" De todos los Generales cual es el mejor? " 

and the tumultuous answer is vocifer- 
ated : 

" Es mi General Jose" con su guard ia de 
honor! " 

And who may be the valiant General, 
the General with his guard of honor, 



183 



excelling all the rest? This, we learn, 
is the guard of honor; the General is 
Jose" Antonio Paez, little Jose Antonio 
who killed the highwayman and betook 
himself to cattle-farming on the Plains ! 
Now, however, he is the famous Llanero 
chieftain, favorite champion of Venezue- 
la, brother-in-arms of Bolivar, who al- 
lows him, alone of all the military lead- 
ers, the privilege of an especial body- 
guard. Since 1810, for five years, he 
has been fighting constantly in his coun- 
try's service, and has won himself fame 
while our eyes have been turned in other 
directions. Look ! he is standing there, 
at the entrance to his hut, while the cho- 
rus yet echoes among the palm-branch- 
es. Scarcely of middle Stature, cer- 
tainly not more than five feet four in 
height, but broad-shouldered, muscular, 
with a constitution of iron, equal to per- 
petual exertion, capable of every fatigue. 
His countenance is open and prepos- 
sessing, his features rounded, forehead 
square, eyes piercing and intelligent. 
Like his men, he wears a motley garb, 
part Spanish uniform, part costume 
of the Llanos ; and he leans upon a 
lance, decorated with a black bannerol, 
which has carried death already to in- 
numerable Loyalist hearts. Thus Jose 
Antonio Paez stands before us, on the 
banks of the Apure, in the twenty-fifth 
year of his age. 

He has perhaps been hitherto too much 
neglected by .us, and we must look back- 
wards in order to take up the thread of 
his career. At the very first outbreak 
of insurrection in 1810, Paez took service 
as a volunteer in the hastily-levied militia 
of Barinas, and was quickly promoted to 
the post of sergeant in a corps of lancers. 
His influence and example attracted mul- 
titudes of Llanero horsemen to the Revo- 
lutionary ranks, but the calamitous period 
of the earthquake put an end to his mili- 
tary service, and he returned, in 1812, 
to his pastoral post. Soon, however, came 
news of BoHvar lighting from the moun- 
tains of New Granada; and in 1813 Paez 
was once more in the saddle, with the com- 
mission, this time,' of captain in the Patriot 



184 



El Lktnero. 



service. The Spaniards soon learned 
to dread the fiery lancer of Barinas. 
They were never safe from his sudden 
onslaught ; and Puy, the commandant 
of the Province, rejoiced loudly when 
an unlucky defeat placed the indefatiga- 
ble guerrillero in his power. Paez was 
condemned to be shot, and was actually 
led out, with other prisoners, to the place 
of execution ; but a concatenation of 
extraordinary accidents saved his life, 
and he escaped once more to the head 
of his command. It was not long before 
he was brought in immediate contact 
with the now famous Bolivar, and he 
rapidly rose to independent command. 
In 1815, he was second only to the Lib- 
erator. Thousands of grim Llaneros 
acknowledged no chieftain beside el Tio 
Pepe, Uncle Joe. When Morillo land- 
ed, in 1815, with his overwhelming force, 
only the Llaneros of Paez held out for 
the Republic ; everywhere else in Ven- 
ezuela the banner of Spain waved in 
triumph, but on the Plains of the Apure 
there was neither submission nor peace. 
Yet, after a while, as the victorious le- 
gions of Morillo flooded, in successive 
waves from the coast, the level region of 
his refuge, Paez was compelled to evacu- 
ate the Plains, and leave them to the in- 
vader. With a few hundred of his horse- 
men he established himself on the Plains 
of New Granada. Scarcely had he grown 
familiar with his new centre of action 
when the troops of Morillo were turned 
westward for the purpose of curbing the 
rebellious spirits in the neighboring Vice- 
Royalty, when, quicker than thought, 
Paez was once more over the mountains, 
and recovered by a sudden swoop the 
Llanos of Barinas. Thenceforward, this 
region remained the surest foothold of the 
revolution in Venezuela. Encircled with 
Spanish troops, it remained, nevertheless, 
a practical republic in itself, and the 
vast basin of the Orinoco was the cradle 
of Venezuelan freedom. The Provisional 
Government consisted of a mere council 
of generals, who, in 1816, created Paez 
General and Supreme Chief of the Re- 
public. A vast stride from the hatero's 



hut that we saw him inhabiting in 
1808! 

Paez resigned this dignity in favor of 
Bolivar in the following year, contenting 
himself with his great military command. 
Surrounded by the body-guard we have 
seen, through all the years 1816, 1817, 
and 1818, now in Venezuela, now in 
New Granada, in the Plains to-day, in 
the mountains to-morrow, enduring ev- 
ery privation, braving odds apparently 
the most overwhelming, fighting pitched 
battles at midnight, and triumphantly 
effecting surprises in the open day, he 
maintained alive, in the midst of gen- 
eral discouragement, the cause he had 
espoused. Bolivar, the Liberator, was 
meanwhile endeavoring to make head 
against the Spaniards elsewhere, and 
gathered a considerable force in the in- 
terior province of Guiana. In 1818, the 
vanguard of the British legion troops 
browned by the sun of Spain, who had 
marched with Wellington from Lisbon to 
the Pyrenees, and who gladly accepted 
the offers of the Patriots when Waterloo 
had put an end to European strife sail- 
ed up the Orinoco, and effected a junc- 
tion with the assembled Patriot forces. 

At this time, not only the whole of 
New Granada, but the entire sea-coast 
of Venezuela and every important city 
in the Republic were possessed by Mo- 
rillo. Yet the Royalist cause made no 
progress. Morillo's dominion was like 
that famous Haarlem lake which occu- 
pied so large an extent of the lands of 
Holland ; it might be "great and threaten- 
ing, but barriers insurmountable, though 
unpretending, forbade its expansion, and 
perseverance gradually succeeded in cur- 
tailing its limits. Whatever the hand of 
Morillo covered, he possessed ; but his 
authority ceased outside the range of his 
guns. His men were growing weary of 
the struggle ; few reinforcements came 
from Spain ; and the troops suffered 
frightfully, through their constant fatigues 
and hardships. The war had become 
that most terrible of all wars, a delib- 
erate system of surprises and skirmish- 
es. Paez here, Bolivar there, Monagas, 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



185 



Piar, Urdaneta, and a score of other 
chieftains, at every vulnerable point, 
harassed, without ceasing, the common 
foe. 

In 1819, Bolivar set out upon that 
marvellous expedition across the Andes, 
in which, by marching one thousand 
miles and fighting three pitched battles 
in somewhat less than eleven weeks, he 
finally liberated New Granada, and se- 
cured a vast amount of Spanish treasure 
and munitions of war. During his ab- 
sence, Paez was left to keep Morillo in 
check on the east of the Cordillera. 
His plan of operations was, to be ev- 
erywhere, and to do everything with 
his lancers. Venezuela clung with ter- 
rible tenacity to the idea of freedom ; 
and the Republic was converted into 
two great camps, perpetually shifting 
their boundaries, yet ever presenting the 
same features. Trade and commerce 
were at an end ; the only business 
thought of was that of war unto death. 
Death, everywhere ; death, .at all times ; 
death, in every shape. By the sword 
and the lance, by famine, by drowning, 
by fire, decimated by fever, worn out by 
fatigue, the Spaniards perished. When 
their convoys failed or were intercepted, 
it was impossible to obtain food ; no for- 
aging-party dared venture forth from the 
fortified encampment ; it was necessary 
that an entire division should march out 
into the Llanos, and seek for the nearest 
herd of cattle. It not unfrequently hap- 
pened, in these expeditions, that the very 
cattle were enlisted on the Patriot side. 
Herds of several thousands of the savage 
beasts were sometimes driven headlong 
upon the Spanish lines, throwing them 
into confusion, and trampling or goring 
great numbers to death. Close in the 
rear of the resistless herd then charged 
the lancers of Paez, with the terrible 
black bannerol fluttering in the van. 
Before the scattered Royalists have time 
to rally, they are attacked in every direc- 
tion by their merciless foes, and in an- 
other minute the battle is over, and the 
men of the Plains are out of sight ! 
Sometimes, too, a detachment traversing 

VOL. in. 12 



the savanna would notice with affright a 
column of thin smoke stealing up into 
the sky a mile to windward ; and al- 
most before the bugle or the drum could 
summon them to arms, the flames would 
be seething and crackling around them, 
and roaring away, in an ocean of fire, 
across the savanna beyond. And then, 
in the rear of the flames, dashed the 
bloodthirsty lancers, and the blackened 
embers of the grass turned red with 
the richness of Spanish veins ! No ven- 
ture was too arduous for the Llanero 
chieftain. He accomplished at one time 
an exploit in which only the multiplicity 
of witnesses who have testified to the 
achievement permits us to believe. San 
Fernando, an impoi-tant town on the 
Apure, was strongly fortified, and was 
held by the Spaniards as a potent means 
of annoying the Patriots in any attempts 
they might make to cross the river. In 
order further to defend the passage, six 
large river-boats, each containing a piece 
of artillery, were anchored at a short dis- 
tance below the only ford. But it became 
necessary that the Apure should be cross- 
ed, and Paez quietly undertook to se- 
cure the passage. With a few of his 
lancers, he rode to the river-bank, and 
there gave the command, Al agxa, mu- 
chachos ! " To the water, boys ! " which 
he was accustomed to use when order- 
ing his men to bathe. His meaning was 
at once apprehended. The men, strip- 
ping off their upper clothing, and holding 
their swords under their arms, plunged 
into the stream, shouting loudly to keep 
off the alligators, and partly rode, partly 
swam, nearly half a mile towards the 
gun-boats. Only the heads of horses and 
men were visible above the water, and 
the crews of the gun-boats, after a single 
discharge, which wounded none of the ex- 
traordinary attacking party, threw them- 
selves into the river and made the best 
of their way to San Fernando, where 
they alleged that it was useless to contest 
possession of their charge with incarnate 
devils, to whom water was the same as 
dry land, and who butchered all their 
prisoners. The gun-boats were navigated 



186 



El Llanero. 



in triumph to the Patriot camp, and did 
excellent service in ferrying the troops 
across the Apure. 

V. 

LIBERTAD. 

BY the year 1820 the Revolutionists 
had for the third time perceptibly gained 
ground, and Morillo's force, spread like a 
fan at the inland base of the -sierra, was 
gradually yielding to the unceasing press- 
ure ; in a word, the Patriots were at 
length driving their enemies into the sea. 
Towards the close of 1820, Morillo opened 
negotiations with their chiefs, and a sus- 
pension of hostilities was commenced on 
the 26th of November, when the Spanish 
general gladly quitted the scene of his 
fruitless efforts, and retired to Spain with 
the title of Count of Carthagena, leaving 
Generals Morales and La Torre in au- 
thority behind him. The armistice was 
not prolonged. The Congress of Colom- 
bia, as the united republics of Venezuela 
and New Granada were then termed, 
demanded unqualified independence as 
the price of peace ; and in June the 
Battle Month of 1821, Bolivar and Paez 
took up arms once more. The Spanish 
troops were concentrated at the base of 
the mountains, with Valencia and Cara- 
cas in their rear. Before them, the road 
wound westward, through tortuous pass- 
es, towards Tinaquilla and Barinas, at 
the former of which places Bolivar with 
his forces was now halting. Six thou- 
sand men were in arms on either side ; 
but the troops of the Republic, though 
ragged, ill-fed, and badly armed, were 
flushed with the consciousness of success 
and the presentiment of triumph, while 
those of Spain were dispirited, worn out, 
and malcontent. 

It was plain to the meanest trooper, 
however, that Carabobo must be held ; 
and on intelligence of the Patriot ad- 
vance, the position, of amazing strength, 
was resolutely occupied. It seemed, in- 
deed, that a regiment could defend such 
a pass with ease against an army. In 
order to debouch upon the Plain of Ca- 



rabobo, the Patriots must penetrate a de- 
file, forming a narrow and tortuous pass, 
the road through which was a mere seam 
at the base of a deep ravine. This nar- 
row passage, through which, of necessity, 
Bolivar's troops must march in straggling 
line, terminated abruptly in a basin or 
valley shut in by hills, except upon the 
northeast, where it opened upon the 
boundless expanse of the contested plain. 
At the mouth of this gorge La Torre lay 
with all his force. Despite the unfavor- 
able condition of his men, with whom, 
moreover, he was not popular, the odds 
seemed overwhelmingly in his favor. He 
stood on the defensive, in one of the strong- 
est of military positions, and well provided 
with artillery, while his adversary was to 
struggle through a narrow valley in the 
face of his opponents, before a single man 
could be made available. The mouth of 
this valley was blockaded by the Spanish 
infantry, who stretched in silent lines 
from side to side in the evening of the 
23d of June. On either flank, the hills 
were occupied by corps of riflemen, and 
the artillery was posted at their base. 
No force, it appeared, could enter the 
beleaguered valley and live. Bolivar 
commenced his passage through the de- 
file on the morning of the 24th, and 
halted in dismay as he reached the outlet. 
It was too apparent that such a conflict 
as lay before him could not be braved. 
At this moment Paez learned that a nar- 
row side-path existed, permitting the pas- 
sage of a single file, which led, by a di- 
tour, to the plain. It was one of those 
curious accidents on which the fate of 
battles seems to hang; and after some 
hesitation, Bolivar permitted Paez to 
venture the passage. Heading the fa- 
mous Battalion of Apure, he at once 
wheeled to the left, and commenced the 
toilsome march. One by one the veter- 
ans struggled through the pass, but they 
were discovered by La Torre before they 
issued upon the plain. 

Although taken entirely by surprise, 
the Spaniards had time for a partial 
change of front, and before the veterans 
of Apure had assembled at the mouth of 



1859.] 



El Llanero. 



187 



the pass, a volley of musketry rang out 
from the Spanish lines, and the gleaming 
of bayonets told of a wall of steel across 
the path. The scanty force of Paez, 
however, dashed from the ravine, and, 
forming hastily, rushed upon the enemy. 
Four Royalist battalions converged upon 
them, and they were crushed. They fell 
back, flying in disorder, and the Span- 
iards were on the point of securing the 
pass, when a shout arose before them 
that made the stoutest quail. With one 
ever-memorable cheer, a long hurrah, 
which spoke of well-known unconquer- 
able determination, the British legion, 
less than eight hundred strong, with their 
Colonel, John Ferrier, at their head, 
appeared at the mouth of the ravine. 
Forming instantaneously and in perfect 
eilence, but with the accuracy of a regi- 
ment on parade, they threw forward 
their bayonets, and knelt down, sedate- 
ly, calmly, immovably, to confront de- 
struction. The remaining troops of Bo- 
livar were in their rear, traversing slow- 
ly the defile ; and until they reached its 
mouth, that living wall of Anglo-Saxon 
valor neither stirred nor blenched. Vol- 
ley after volley enfiladed their ranks, 
and, after each discharge, the mass of 
men was smaller. Still their cool and 
ceaseless firing rolled death into the 
ranks of the enemy, until at length the 
troops whom they had saved from de- 
struction rallied once more. Then, what 
remained of the legion, headed by the two 
or three officers whose lives had been 
marvellously preserved, rushed fiercely 
forward like an avenging flame, and 
swept before them the affrighted Span- 
iards, wildly scattering at the onslaught 
which it was impossible to withstand. 
In another moment, eighty or ninety 
of the lancers of Paez issued from the 
ravine, and, hurling themselves upon the 
broken enemy, turned the defeat into 
an utter rout. La Torre's troops, with 
the exception of one regiment, fled in 
disgraceful confusion, or perished liy hun- 
dreds under the lances of the implacable 
pursuers; and on the evening of the 24th 
of June, Bolivar, encamped upon the 



Plain of Carabobo, laid his hand upon 
the shoulder of Jose" Antonio Paez, 
thenceforward General-iu-chief of the 
Armies of the Republic of Colombia ! 

Carabobo decided the War of Inde- 
pendence throughout South America. 
It snapped the chain which held Vene- 
zuela down, and the Spaniards, hemmed 
in for two years longer at Puerto Ca- 
bello, which place they defended with 
honorable pertinacity, were finally ex- 
pelled from the free Republic in No- 
vember, 1823. The city was taken by 
storm on the 7th of that month, and on 
the 9th the citadel surrendered. Gen- 
eral Calzada, the commandant, with all 
his officers, and four hundred men, was 
shortly afterwards shipped (or Spain. 

Here the career of the Llanero closes. 
A new and still more brilliant avenue to 
distinction opens before Paez. At this, 
however, we can scarcely glance. Our 
business has been to study him in the 
saddle, wielding lasso and sword and 
lance ; nor have we left ourselves room 
for adequate allusion to his subsequent 
life as President and private citizen, 
deliverer of his country, and exile in 
these Northern States. Yet the record 
could not be called complete, unless we 
passed briefly in review the vicissitudes 
of the past thirty years. 

After the taking of Puerto Cabello, 
Paez administered the affairs of Vene- 
zuela as Provisional Chief of the State, 
and held that office under the Congress 
of Colombia, until the two republics were 
dissevered in 1830, when he was elected 
first President of Venezuela. Only par- 
tially disturbed by a military insurrec- 
tion, headed by the turbulent General 
Jose T. Mondgas, which was soon sup- 
pressed, the administration of Paez was 
such as surprised all lookers-on in 
America and Europe. He displayed 
administrative talents of a high order, 
with all the firmness and resolution of 
a soldier, yet with -all the business ca- 
pacity and peaceful proclivities of a 
civilian. 

Laying down the Presidential office in 
1834, he was again called upon to assume 



188 



El Llanero. 



[February, 



it four years later, and until the close 
of 1842 Venezuela prospered under his 
direction. The foreign and domestic 
debt was liquidated by the products of 
national industry, and three millions of 
dollars were left in the treasury on the 
accession to the Presidency of General 
Soublette, in 1843. Honors had rained 
on the ci-devant impetuous horseman, 
whose shout had once so frequently been 
the prelude to slaughter and devasta- 
tion. William the Fourth of England 
presented General Paez, in 1837, with 
a sword of honor ; Louis Philippe of 
France invested him, in 1843, with the 
Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor ; 
and two years later, there arrived from 
Oscar of Sweden the Cross of the Mil- 
itary Order of the Sword. 

But in 1850, and thenceforward, un- 
til 1858, Jose" Antonio Paez trod the 
streets of New York as an exile from 
his native land. 

General Jose T. Monagas was elected 
President of Venezuela in 1848, and 
created dissatisfaction by his course of 
action. Paez placed himself at the head 
of an insurrectionary movement against 
him, and, being defeated, was imprisoned 
in the city of Valencia. General Mona- 
gas, influenced, it is probable, by feelings 
of ancient friendship, and remembering 
the pardon extended to himself on a 
former similar occasion, contented him- 
self with a decree of exile against the 
captive veteran, and Paez embarked for 
St. Thomas on the 24th of May, 1850. 
He passed from St. Thomas to the Unit- 
ed States. 

All, whose memories extend so far 
back as the year 1850, remember the 
ovation received in New York by the 
exiled chief. New York grants an ova- 
tion to every one ; and Monagas would, 
doubtless, have been received with the 
same demonstration, had the breath of 
adverse fortune blown him hither, in- 
steid of his antagonist. 



After the first effervescence produced 
by the dropping of a notability into the 
caldron of New York, the Llanero gen- 
eral was permitted to enjoy his placid 
domesticity without molestation ; and in 
a pleasant street, far up-town among the 
Twenties, he lived in the midst of us for 
eight quiet years. A curious serenity of 
evening, for a life so turbulent and in- 
carnadined in its beginning ! How many 
of the thousands who were wont to pass 
the stout old soldier, with his seamed fore- 
head and gray moustache, as he enjoyed 
his quiet stroll down Broadway, thought 
of him as the lad of Araure, the horse- 
man of Barinas, terror of the Spaniard, 
victor of Carabobo, and President of 
Venezuela ? But though retired and un- 
pretending in his exile, Paez was not 
neglected in New York ; and the proces- 
sion which followed him, but a few weeks 
since, to the steamer destined to bear him 
back to his native land, a procession 
saddened, it is true, by the feeble condi- 
tion to which an accident had temporari- 
ly reduced the chieftain, showed that his 
solid worth was recognized and honored. 

Not yet, however, is it time for the 
summing-up of his history. The exile 
of 1850 has been solicited to return to 
his country, and the ninth anniversary 
of banishment may find him occupying 
once more the Presidential chair. Gen- 
eral Monagas having been deposed in 
March, 1858, repeated invitations were 
dispatched, by the Provisional Govern- 
ment, to Paez, entreating his return ; 
and, after much cautious hesitation, he 
resolved, in the following September, to 
comply with the request. Subsequent 
events belong rather to the chronology 
of the day than to the page of history 
we have thrown open here. Our task 
is at an end ; the career of the Llanero 
has been unfolded ; we have placed our- 
selves in the presence of the comrade 
of Bolivar, and have witnessed the rise 
of the Venezuelan Republic. 



1859.] 



Butts and Bears. 



189 



BULLS AND BEARS. 



[Continued.] 



CHAPTER XI. 

SHOWING AT WHAT COST OUR HERO 
ESCAPED DROWNING. 

THE boat lay at the wharf, a pretty 
little craft of six or eight tons, with a 
mainsail and jib. It was a delightful af- 
ternoon ; a gentle westerly wind swept 
over a placid sea, and the sky was as 
clear as the mirror that reflected its ex- 
quisite blue. Greenleaf and Miss Sand- 
ford took their seats amidships, leaving 
the stern for the boatman. The ropes 
were cast off, and the sailor was about 
stepping aboard, when it was discovered 
that the fishing-lines had been left behind. 
Old Tarry was dispatched to bring them, 
and he rolled off as fast as his habitual 
gait allowed him. When he was fairly 
up the hill, Miss Sandford said, 

" You know how to sail a boat, don't 
you ? " 

" Yes," said Greenleaf, " I have fre- 
quently been out alone ; but I thought I 
would not take the responsibility of a 
more precious freight" 

" It would be delightful to have a sail 
by ourselves." 

" Charming, truly ! Our salt-water 
friend may be a very estimable person, 
but we should be freer to talk in his ab- 
sence." 

" Suppose you try it. I will sit here, 
and you take his place." 

Greenleaf hesitated ; the proposal was 
a tempting one, but he had no great con- 
fidence in his own skill. 

" The sea is like a pond," continued 
his companion. " We can sail out a 
short distance, and then return for our 
pilot, if we like." 

Greenleaf allowed himself to be per- 
suaded. He shoved off the boat, hoisted 
sail, and they were soon lightly skimming 
the waters of the bay. They rounded 
the rocky point and stood for the east- 



ward. Their boatman soon appeared on 
the shore and made frantic gestures to 
no purpose ; they looked back and rather 
enjoyed his discomfiture. 

Never did the sea have such a fascina- 
tion for Greenleaf. ,He held the rudder 
and drew the sheets with a feeling of 
proud mastery, deeper and more exciting 
than the horseman feels on the back of 
his steed. These first emotions, however, 
gradually lost their intensity K and he re- 
signed himself to the measureless con- 
tent which the gentle motion, the bland 
air, and the sunny sky inspired. 

What had been the character of Miss 
Sandford's regard for Greenleaf hitherto 
would be a difficult question to answer ; 
it is doubtful whether she knew, herself. 
She had been pleased with his conversa- 
tion and manners, flattered by his grace- 
ful and not too obsequious attentions, 
and proud of his success in his art. Liv- 
ing upon the pleasures of the day, with- 
out a thought of the future, she had nev- 
er seriously reflected upon the conse- 
quences of her flirtation, supposing that, 
as in every former case, there would come 
a time of ennui and coolness. Besides, 
she had felt the force of her prudent sister- 
in-law's suggestion, that a man without an 
estate would never be able to supply the 
necessities of a woman of fashion. With 
all her quasi advances a degree of reserve 
was mingled, and she persuaded herself 
that she should never become entangled 
beyond the power of retreat But Green- 
leaf was not an easy conquest. , She was 
aware of her influence over him, and em- 
ployed all her arts to win and secure his 
devotion ; as long as the least indifference 
on his part remained, she was unsatisfied. 
But in this protracted effort she had drift- 
ed unconsciously from her own firm an- 
chorage. Day by day his society had 
grown more and more necessary to her, 
and her habitual caution was more and 



190 



Bulls and Bears. 



[February, 



more neglected. The conduct of Green- 
leaf, without any design on his part, had 
been such as to draw her on irresistibly, 
until their positions had become reversed; 
she was now fascinated beyond self-con- 
trol, and without a thought of the future, 
while he was merely agreeable, but in- 
wardly cool and self-possessed. Still at 
times the strange thrills returned as the 
soft light of her eyes fell upon him, and the 
intoxication he felt at his first meeting with 
her again drowned his senses in delight. 

They did not talk very freely that sum- 
mer's day. The heart when full rarely 
pours itself out in words. A look, a press- 
ure of the hand, or (if such improprie- 
ties are to be imagined) a kiss, expresses 
the emotions far better than the most glow- 
ing speech. It was enough for Marcia, 
steeped in delicious languor, to sway with 
the rocking boat, to feel the soft wind 
dallying with her hair, and to look with 
unutterable fondness at her companion. 

As long as the ceremonies of socie- 
ty are observed, and people are kept 
asunder a room's distance, so that only 
the mind acts, and the senses are in re- 
pose, reserve may keep up its barrier. 
Words lose their electricity in passing 
through a cool tract of air, and Reason 
shows all things in her own clear white 
light. But establish a magnetic circle by 
contact, let hand rest in quivering hand, 
while eye looks into melting eye, and Rea- 
son may as well resign her sway. When 
the nerves tingle, the heart bounds, and 
the breath quickens, estates, honors, fam- 
ily, prudence, are of little worth. The 
Grundys, male and female, may go hang; 
the joy of the present so transcends all 
memory, so eclipses hope even, that all 
else is forgotten. 

The boat careened somewhat, and 
Marcia changed her seat to the opposite 
side, quite near to Greenleaf. His right 
hand held the tiller, his left, quite un- 
consciously, it would seem, fell into her 
open palm. The subtile influence ran 
through every fibre. What he said he did 
not know, only that he verged towards the 
momentous subject, and committed him- 
self so far that he must either come plain- 



ly to the point or apologize and with- 
draw as best he might. Could he with- 
draw, while, as he held her soft hand, that 
lambent fire played along his nerves ? 
He did not give up the hand. 

Poor little Alice ! Her picture in his 
breast-pocket no longer weighed upon 
his heart. 

The breeze freshened, the boat rose 
and fell with easy motion over the whi- 
tening waves. The sun all at once was 
obscured. They looked behind them ; a 
heavy black cloud was rising rapidly in 
the west. Greenleaf put the boat about, 
and, as it met the shock of the sea, they 
were covered with spray. To go back 
in the wind's eye was clearly impossible ; 
they must beat up, and, hauling as close 
to the wind as possible, they stood to- 
wards Swampscot. For a mile or two 
they held this course, and then tacked. 
But making very little headway in that 
direction, the bow was turned northward 
again. In coming about they shipped so 
much water, that Marcia, though by no 
means a coward, screamed out, " We are 
lost ! " She flung herself into the bottom 
of the boat and laid her head in Green- 
leaf's lap like a frightened child. He 
soothed her and denied that there was 
danger ; he did not venture to tack again, 
however, for fear of being swamped, 
but determined to run northwardly along 
the coast in the hope of getting ashore 
on some sandy beach before the fury of 
the storm should come. The boat now 
careened so far that her gunwale was 
under water ; he saw that he must take 
in the mainsail. With some difficulty he 
persuaded Marcia to hold the tiller while 
he let go the halliards. The mainsail 
came down with a run, and the boat kept 
on with the jib only, though of course at 
a slower rate. They were still two or 
three miles from shore, and the storm 
increased momently. They saw Lynn 
Beach without hope of gaining it, the 
wind driving them northward. Neither 
could Greenleaf run into the little bay 
of Swampscot. In spite of his efforts the 
boat shot by Phillips's Point, and he must 
therefore run upon the rocks beyond the 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



191 



Point or make for Marblehead harbor. 
But the latter was an untried and dan- 
gerous course for an inexperienced boat- 
man, and, grim as the coast looked, he 
was obliged to trust to its tender mercies 
for the chance of getting ashore. The 
rain now fell in blinding torrents, and a 
blackness as of night brooded over the 
sea. Greenleaf was utterly bewildered, 
but held on to the tiller with his aching, 
stiffening hand, and strove to inspire 
his companion with courage. The boat 
was " down by the head," on account of 
the wind's drawing the jib, and rolled 
and plunged furiously. Behind were 
threatening billows, and before were rag- 
ged, precipitous rocks, around which the 
surges boiled and eddied. Greenleaf 
quailed as he neared the awful coast ; his 
heart stood still as he thought of the peril 
to a helpless woman in clambering up 
those cliffs, even if she were not drowned 
before reaching them. Every flash of light- 
ning seemed to disclose some new horror. 
If life is measured by sensations, he lived 
years of torture in the few minutes dur- 
ing which he waited for the shock of the 
bows against the granite wall. Marcia, 
fortunately, had become insensible, though 
her sobbing, panting breath showed the 
extremity of terror that had pursued 
her as long as consciousness remained. 
Nearer and nearer they come ; an oar's 
length, a step ; they touch now ! No, a 
wave careens the boat, and she lightly 
grazes by. Now opens a cleft, perhaps 
wide enough for her to enter. With 
helm hard down the bow sweeps round, 
and they float into a narrow basin with 
high, perpendicular walls, qpening only 
towards the sea. When within this lit- 
tle harbor, the boat lodged on a shelving 
rock and heeled over as the wave re- 
treated. Greenleaf and his companion, 
who had now recovered from her swoon, 
kept their places as though hanging at the 
eaves of a house. They were safe from 
the fury of the storm without, but there 
was no prospect of au immediate deliv- 
erance. Tin 1 rock rose sheer above them 
thirty or forty feet, and they were shut 
up as in the bottom of a well. The waves 



dallied about the narrow entrance, shoot- 
ing by, meeting, or returning on the sweep 
of an eddy ; but at intervals they gath- 
ered their force, and, tumbling over each 
other, rushed in, dashing the spray to the 
top of the basin, and completely drench- 
ing the luckless voyagers. This, how- 
ever, was not so serious a matter as it 
would have been if their clothes had not 
been wet before in the heavy rain. The 
tide slowly rose, and the boat floated 
higher and higher against the rock, as 
the shadows began to settle over the gulf. 

In spite of the peril they had encoun- 
tered, and their present discomfort and 
perplexity, Greenleaf now experienced 
an indescribable pleasure. Marcia was ex- 
hausted with fatigue and terror, and rest- 
ed her head upon his shoulder. Uncon- 
sciously, he used the cheering, caressing 
tones which the circumstances naturally 
prompted. It was an occasion to draw 
out what was most manly, most tender, 
most chivalric in him. The pride of the 
woman was gone, her artifices forgotten. 
In that hour she had looked beyond the 
factitious distinctions of society ; she had 
found herself face to face with her com- 
panion without disguise, as spirit looks 
upon spirit, and she felt herself drawn to 
him by the loyalty which a superior na- 
ture inevitably inspires. 

A slight movement of the boat caused 
Greenleaf to turn his head. Just behind 
him there was a shelf not three feet above 
the gunwale ; beyond that was a second 
step, and still farther a winding fissure. 
After measuring the distances again with 
his eye, to be sure that he should raise 
no illusive hope, he pointed out to Mar- 
cia the way of escape. Their conversa- 
tion had naturally taken an affectionate 
turn, and Greenleaf 's delicate courtesy 
and hardly ambiguous words had raised a 
tumult in her bosom which could no long- 
er be repressed. She flung herself into 
his arms, and with tears exclaimed, 

" Dear George, you have saved my 
life ! It is yours ! Take me ! " 

The rush of emotion swept away the 
last barrier ; he yielded to the impulse ; 
he clasped her fondly in his arms and 



192 



Butts and Sears. 



[February, 



gave his heart and soul to her keeping. 
Carefully he assisted her up by the way 
he had found, and when at last they 
reached the top of the cliff', both fell on 
their knees in gratitude to Heaven for 
their preservation. Then new embraces 
and protestations. Rain and salt spray, 
hunger and fatigue, were of little moment 
in that hour. 

Near the cliff stood a gentleman's villa, 
and to that they now hastened to pro- 
cure dry clothing before returning home. 
They found the welcome hospitality they 
expected, and after rest and refreshment 
started to walk to Swampscot, where they 
could obtain a carriage for Nahant. But 
at the gate they met Easelmann and Mrs. 
Saudford, who, alarmed at their long ab- 
sence, had driven in a barouche along 
the coast in hope of hearing some tidings 
of the boat. 

The wanderers were overwhelmed with 
congratulations, mingled with deserved 
reproofs for their rashness in venturing 
forth without their pilot. On the way 
home, Greenleaf told the story which the 
reader already knows, omitting only some 
few passages. Easelmann turned and 
said, with a meaning emphasis, 

" I thought so. I thought what would 
happen. You aren't drowned, to be sure ; 
but some people can't be drowned ; bet- 
ter for them, if they could ! " 

Gyeenleaf made no reply to the brusque 
sarcasm, but drew Marcia closer to his 
side. He could not talk after such an 
adventure, especially while in contact 
with the woman for whom he had risked 
so much. 

Poor little Alice ! 

CHAPTER XII. 
THE BEGINNING OF THE END. 

THE flurry in the money-market grad- 
ually increased to a storm. Confidence 
was destroyed, and business at a stand. 
The daily bulletins of failures formed the 
chief topic of conversation. The mer- 
chants and bankers, especially those who 
held Western lands, Western securities, 
or 'Western credits, went down one after 



another. Houses tumbled like a row of 
bricks. No class was safe at a time when 
the relations of debtor and creditor were 
so complicated and so universal. Stocks 
went down with a run. Bullion was 
not disappointed in his calculations, and 
Fletcher, in spite of his insane whims 
upon the subject of chances, proved 
himself shrewd, vigilant, and energetic. 
Flushed with success, he made bolder 
ventures, and the daily balances grew 
to be enormous. Within the first fort- 
night, Bullion had given Fletcher notes 
for over five thousand dollars as his 
share of the profits. The brokers, even, 
were astonished at the silent but all- 
powerful influence that pressed upon the 
market, bringing the best stocks down 
till they sold like damaged goods at a 
sheriff's auction. But Tensor, the lucky 
agent, kept his counsel. Daily he attend- 
ed the sales at the Board, with apparent- 
ly exhaustless resources, bear-ing pitiless- 
ly, triumphantly, until the unlucky bulls 
came to think the sight of his face was an 
ill omen. 

Of all men, Sandford felt this steady, 
determined pressure most keenly. To 
sustain the credit of those in whose af- 
fairs he was concerned, he was obliged 
from time to time to put under the ham- 
mer stocks which had been placed in his 
hands. Ever)' sale showed the value of 
these securities to be sinking, until it re- 
ally seemed that they would come to be 
as worthless as the old Continental cur- 
rency. But neither he nor other suffer- 
ers had any remedy ; stocks were worth 
only what they would bring ; prices must 
take care of themselves; and the calm, 
determined bids of Tonsor were like the 
voice of Fate. 

In his extremity, Sandford thought of 
Monroe, and remembering his own per- 
sonal responsibility for the sum he had 
received, he determined to " hedge." So 
he sent for Monroe ; he showed him the 
notes, all amply secured, if any man's 
name could be said to give security. 

" You see," said Sandford, " how care- 
ful I have been. Two good names on 
every note. They may fail, it is true. So 



1859.] 



Butts and Bears. 



193 



E'toeks may go for a song, and universal 
bankruptcy follow. See, there is a 
note signed by Flint, Steel, & Co., and 
indorsed by Lameduck, another by 
Kiteflyer and Co., indorsed by Burnt- 
wick, and this by Stearine & Star, in- 
dorsed by Bullion. Every dollar will 
yield at least the eight per cent. I prom- 
ised." 

" The names are good, I should think, 
as long as anybody is good," said Mon- 
roe. " Still I should feel safer with a 
mortgage, or even with stocks ; for if these 
do go down, they will come up again." 

" Stocks ! " said Sandford, with an air 
of' contempt. " There isn't a bank that 
is worth that" snapping his fingers. 
' They keep on their legs only by suffer- 
ance ; if put to the test, they could not 
redeem their notes a day. The factories 
are worse yet, rotten, hollow. Rail- 
roads, jeaten up with bonds and mort- 
gages." 

" Well, perhaps you have done wisely. 
Time will show." 

" I sent for you," said Sandford, " be- 
cause I knew you must be anxious. I 
gave you a part of the interest, you know. 
You'll take these notes ? You approve 
of my judgment ? " 

" I must, I suppose. Yes, you can 
make the tran.-fers to me, if you like. 
They may as well remain with you, how- 
ever." 

Sandford drew a long breath with a 
sense of relief. If he were to be hard 
pushed, these notes would serve for col- 
lateral securities. 

Monroe left the office, not quite so 
cheerful as when he came. He remem- 
bered his mother's regrets at the dispo- 
sition of the money, their all. His own 
health had been failing. His relative, 
whom he went to see, was dead ; and 
now that his cousin had accepted his in- 
vitation to come and live with him, he 
felt an increased solicitude about the fu- 
ture. 

Sandford's main anxiety now was to 
provide for Stearine's note, which he felt 
assured the promisor could not meet. 
He dared not let the loss fall upon the 



Vortex uiitil every expedient had been 
tried ; for such an affair would lead at 
once to an unwelcome investigation of 
the Company's accounts. He determined 
first to see Bullion, to whom the note was 
due. He found that gentleman cool, 
tranquil, and not at all frightened, as he 
supposed he would be, at the idea of a 
protest. The truth was, that Bullion had 
already made so much in his operations, 
that he could easily ' lift " the note ; but as 
long as his capital was yielding such gold- 
en returns, he was not disposed to use it 
in that way until obliged to do so. Be- 
sides, he believed, from Sandford's anx- 
iety, that he would himself make an effort 
to raise the money elsewhere. He was 
quite easy, therefore. 

" Stearine must look out for his own 
paper ; if he don't, he must go down. 
If I have to pay it, I shall any way get a 
dividend out of him, and, what is better, 
get a few days' time. Time is money, 
these days." 

There was no course for Sandford, then, 
but to sell or hypothecate the shares of 
stock he held. Then the thought of the 
still falling prices frightened him. The 
stocks he had to sell were already quoted 
far below their usual price, and he, in 
common with all the street, had heard of 
the secret irresistible influence that was 
bearing down upon the daily sales. If 
Tonsor should come into market against 
him, the consequences might be ruinous. 
It was out of the question for him to stand 
up against any further serious deprecia- 
tion. 

To Tonsor he went, in the hope of 
persuading or buying him off from his 
destructive course. As he entered the 
broker's door he saw Fletcher hand over 
a package of bills, and just caught the 
words, " Forty-five thousand." ' What, 
was Fletcher doing? He remembered 
that he had not met his old agent for 
some days, and he knew well that such a 
scheming brain would not be idle in .1 
time like this. A light Hashed upon him. 
Was Fletcher in the conspiracy ? If he 
knew and shared in the scheme, the se- 
cret should be wrenched from him. 



194 



Hulls and Bears. 



[February, 



Mr. Sandford affected, therefore, to 
have come to see Fletcher only, and 
drew him into a corner. 

" Fletcher, what's iu the wind ? Don't 
Danfbrth & Co. do their own buying 
and selling ? They don't employ Tonsor, 
do they ? " 

" You don't expect me to tell their 
business, do you?" 

" Well, no, not exactly. I thought 
you might have dipped in on your own 
account." 

" That's a good joke. How should / 
have the funds ? " 

" Any chances to invest, Fletcher ? I'll 
give liberal commissions." 

" Chances are plenty for those that have 
money." 

Fletcher started as though he would 
return to his place of business. But 
Sandford dropped his smooth and honey- 
ed tone and spoke more decidedly. 

" You can't blind me, Fletcher. You 
know what the bears are doing. They 
are ruining everything, knocking down 
prices, destroying credit, using what little 
money there is for speculation, thriving 
on the distress of the public. It's no bet- 
ter than highway-robbery ; and it's my 
belief you are concerned in the plot." 

" You had better go to the nobs, and 
not talk to me. You might as well pitch 
into the tellers or messengers when the 
banks suspend payment" 

" No, I shan't let you off. The 
' nobs,' as you call them, dare not be 
seen in this matter ; they will pocket the 
chestnuts, but they will get some cat's- 
paw to rake them out of the ashes." 

" Well, what are you going to do about 
it?" 

Fletcher was astonished at his own 
temerity as soon as he had uttered the 
words ; but his prosperity and the support 
of Bullion had given him some courage. 

" Do ? you scoundrel ! " said Sandford, 
in a rage that rarely overtook him. 
" What am I going to do ? I'll break 
every bone in your skin, if you don't give 
up this plot you are in. Do you dare 
to set yourself to put me. down ? Don't 
lef any of your tools dare to run my 



stocks ! If you do, I'll go to a magistrate 
and have you arrested." 

" When I am arrested, my good Sir," 
said Fletcher, with a face pale as death, 
but with lips firmly set, " I advise you to 
have your accounts ready. For I shan't 
be in the jug a minute before you'll have 
to show your papers and your cash-book 
to the Company." 

Sandford staggered as though he had 
received a blow from a bruiser. Ho 
gasped for breath, turned pale, then 
red, at length with difficulty said, " You 
defy me, then.? We shall see ! " 

" You have it ; I defy you, hate you, 
despise you ! I have been your slave 
long enough. Do your worst. But the 
instant you move, I promise you that a 
man will look after you, d d quick." 

Sandford looked around. Tonsor was 
calmly counting the pile of bank-notes 
before him. It was near eleven. The 
Board would soon commence its ses- 
sion. He stepped into the street, slam- 
ming the door after him. 

" Pretty well, for a beginning ! " said 
Fletcher, meditating, " a shot betwixt 
wind and water. So much for Bullion's 
advice. Bullion is a trump, and Sand- 
ford be hanged ! " 

CHAPTER XIII. 

SED REVOCARE GRADUM ! 

THE fatigue, drenching, and terror 
of the unlucky day's sail produced their 
natural effects upon a rather delicate 
constitution. Miss Saudford was ill th 
following day, and, in spite of the doc- 
tors, a fever set in. Her sister-in-law 
was assiduous in her attentions, and 
Greenleaf called daily With inquiries 
and tender messages. While thus oc- 
cupied, he had little time to cpnsider 
the real state of his feelings towards 
the new love, still less to reflect upon 
his conduct towards the old. For the 
first time in his life he became a coward. 
If he meant to abide by his last engage- 
ment, honor should have led him to break 
the unwelcome news to Alice as best he 
mi"ht, and extricate himself from his false 

O ' 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



195 



and embarrassing position. If he still 
loved the girl of his first choice, and felt 
that his untruth to her was only the re- 
sult of a transient, sensuous passion, it 
was equally plain that he must resolute- 
ly break away from the beautiful tempt- 
er. But he oscillated, pendulum-like, be- 
tween the two. When Marcia began to 
recover, and he was allowed to see her 
in her chamber, the influence she had 
at first exerted returned upon him with 
double force. In her helplessness, she 
appealed powerfully to the chivalric sen- 
timent which man feels towards the de- 
pendent ; her tones, softened by affection 
and tremulous from weakness, thrilled 
his soul ; and the touch of her hand was 
electric. When he returned to his stu- 
dio, as he thought of the trustful, unsus- 
pecting, generous heart of Alice, he was 
smitten with a pang of remorse too keen 
to be borne. He tried to look at her 
picture, but the face was to him like the 
sight of a reproving angel. He could 
not look steadily upon the placid fea- 
tures ; the calm eyes turned his heart to 
stone ; the sweet mouth was an accuser 
he dared not face. But when next he 
saw Marcia, all was forgotten ; while un- 
der her spell he could have braved the 
world, only too happy to live and die for 
her. 

For days this struggle continued. His 
art had no power to amuse him or en- 
gross his thought His friends were 
neglected, Easelmann with the rest 
His enemy could not have wished to 
see him more completely miserable. He 
knew that he must decide, must act; but 
whatever might be his determination, he 
had a most painful duty to perform. Let 
.him do what he might, he must prove 
himself a villain. He loathed, detested 
himself. Sometimes he was tempted to 
fly ; but then he reflected that he should 
in that way prove a scoundrel to two 
women instead of one. For three weeks 
he had not written to Alice, and the last 
letter he had received from her was now 
a month old. lie took it from his pock- 
et, where it lay among the perfumed and 
tinted evidences of his unfaithfulness. It 



was a simple thing, but how the gentle 
words smote upon his heart ! 

" MY DKAR GEORGE, (her dear 
George !) How I wish I could be with 
you, to rejoice over your success ! You 
are really a great artist, the papers say, 
and are becoming famous ! Not that I 
love you the more for that. If you were 
still unknown to the world, still only a 
lover of beauty for its own sake, and con- 
tent with painting for your own pleasure, 
I am not sure that I should not love you 
the more. But you will believe me, that 
I am proud of your success. If I am 
ambitious, it is for you. I would have 
the world see and know you as I do. 
Yet not as I do, nobody can do that 
To the world you are a great painter. 
To me ah, my dearest George ! you 
are the noblest and truest heart that 
ever woman rested upon. Nobody but 
me knows that. I shall be proud of 
the homage the world gives you, be- 
cause at the same time I shall say, 
' That is my betrothed, my husband, 
whom they praise ; what his heart is, 
no woman knows but me ' " 

He could read no farther. His emo- 
tions were too powerful to be borne in 
silence. He yielded, and, strong man 
as he was, bowed his head and wept. 
The tears of childhood, and oftentimes 
the tears of woman, lie shallow ; they 
come at the first bidding of sorrow or 
sympathy. But it is no common event, 
no common feeling, that prevails over 
man ; nothing less than a convulsion 
like an earthquake unseals the foun- 
tain of tears in him. Whoever has 
seen the agony of a manly nature in 
groans and tears and sobs has some- 
thing to remember for a life-time. 

It was a long night, a night of un- 
utterable suffering, struggle, and doubt. 
The hours seemed shod with lead. 
Sleep seemed banished from the uni- 
verse. But with the coming of dawn 
the tempest was stilled. In the clear 
light of day the path of duty seemed 
plain. He felt sure that in his heart 



Bulls and Bears. 



[February, 



of hearts he loved Alice, and her only. 
He would go at once to Marcia and 
tell her of his perfidy, implore the for- 
giveness of silence and charity, and bid 
her farewell. When he had reached 
this conclusion he became calm. As 
he looked out from his window, he saw 
the world awake from slumber, and he 
shared in the gladness of Nature. He 
even rejoiced in the prospect of deliv- 
erance from his wretched condition, al- 
though he well knew the humiliation he 
must pass through to attain it. He 
waited impatiently for the hour when 
he could present himself before Marcia, 
own his duplicity, mid take leave of 
her. He felt strong in his new resolu- 
tion. All vacillation was past. He could 
face any temptation without one flutter 
of inconstancy towards his first-love. 

Greenleaf was not the only one in 
the city with whom the night had passed 
heavily. The cloud still hung over the 
mercantile world. Failures, by dozens, 
were announced daily. Men heard the 
dismal intelligence, as in time of pesti- 
lence they would hear the report of the 
dead and dying. No business-man felt 
secure. No amount of property, other 
than ready money, was any safeguard. 
Neighbor met neighbor, asking, with 
doleful accent, " Where is this going to 
end ? " The street, at 'change hours, 
presented a crowd of haggard faces, 
furrowed with care, their eyes fixed and 
despairing. Some looked white with 
apprehension, some crushed and tearful, 
others stony, sullen, or defiant What- 
ever was bravest had been drawn out 
in manly endeavor; whatever was most 
generous was excited to sympathy and 
brotherly-kindness ; whatever was most 
selfish was stimulated by the fierce de- 
sire for self-preservation ; whatever was 
most fiendish was roused by blind rage 
and useless resentment. In the halcyon 
days of plenty and prosperity men know 
little of each other ; trade has its accus- 
tomed way ; balances are smoothly ad- 
justed ; notes are given and paid with 
smiling faces ; one would think that hon- 
or and manliness were the commonest of 



qualities. Now, every man was put to 
the severest proof, and showed the in- 
born and essential traits of his nature. 
Like a ship's crew on a raft, alone on the 
ocean without provisions, they looked at 
each other as they were. There, in their 
extremity, were to be seen calm resig- 
nation, unmanly terror, moody despair, 
turbulent passion, and stealthy, fiendish 
glances that blinked not at cannibalism 
itself. 

Mr. Sandford, almost for the first time 
in his life, had been rendered nervous 
with apprehension. To be sure, he was 
not one of the " sleek-headed men that 
sleep o' nights " ; he was always busy 
with some scheme ; but, heretofore, suc- 
cess had followed every plan, and he had 
gone on with steadfast- confidence. Now 
the keenest foresight was of no avail ; 
events defied calculation ; misfortunes 
came without end and without remedy. 
It was the moment of fate to him. He 
had gone to the last verge, exhausted 
every resource, and, if there were not 
some help, as unlocked for as a shower 
of gold from heaven, he must stop pay- 
ment, he, whose credit had been spot- 
less and without limit, whose name in 
the financial world was honor itself, 
whose influence had been a tower of 
strength in every undertaking. It was 
not without a struggle that he brought 
himself to look this inexorable fact in 
the face. Marcia and his sister-in-law 
heard him as he paced the room through 
the night ; they had noticed his abstract- 
ed and downcast air the preceding even- 
ing ; and at breakfast the few words that 
escaped from between his firm-set lips 
were sufficiently ominous. It was the 
first morning that Marcia had appeared 
at the table, and in her feeble condition 
the apprehension of danger was intense 
and overpowering. Mrs. Sandford tried 
in vain to change the conversation, by 
significant glances towards the invalid ; 
but the brother was too much absorbed 
to notice anything outside of the gloomy 
circle that hemmed him in. Muttering 
still of " ruin," " beggary," and similar 
topics, so admirably adapted to cheer the 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



197 



convalescent, he swallowed his breakfast 
like an animal, left the room without his 
usual bland "good morning," and slam- 
med the street-door after him. 

A fit of hysterics was the natural con- 
sequence. The kind and sisterly widow 
bore, rather than led, Marcia to an up- 
per room, propped her with pillows in 
an arm-chair, and employed every ten- 
der and womanly art to soothe her ex- 
cited nerves. Calmness came, but only 
with exhaustion. The door-bell rang. 
Mrs. Sandford gave an inaudible direc- 
tion to the servant. But Marcia exclaim- 
ed, " It is George ! I heard his step on 
the pavement. I must see him. Let 
him in." Mrs. Sandford remonstrated 
to no purpose, and then went to her own 
room. 

It was " George." He entered the room 
with a pale face, and a look betokening 
both suffering and resolution. He was 
evidently struck by the appearance of 
Miss Sandford, rightly judging that she 
was not able to bear what he had come 
to tell her. He would have uttered a few 
commonplace courtesies, and deferred his 
Aveighty communication to another time. 
But Marcia's senses were preternaturally 
sharpened ; weak as a vine without its 
trellis, instinct seemed to guide her to 
clasp by every tendril the support to 
which she had been wont to cling. She 
noticed a certain uneasiness in Green- 
leaf's demeanor ; ready to give the worst 
interpretation to everything, she ex- 
claimed, in a quick, frightened manner, 
" George, dear George, what is the mat- 
ter ? You are cold, you are distant. Are 
you in trouble, too, like all the world ? " 

" Deeply in trouble," he answered 
gravely, still standing, hat in hand. 

" Trouble that I cannot soothe ? " 

" I am afraid not." 

" And you won't tell me ? " 

" Not to-day." 

" Then you don't love me." 

Greenleaf was silent ; his lips showing 
the emotion he" strove to control. Her 
voice took a more cheerful tone, as if she 
would assure herself, and, with a faint 
smile, she said, 



" You are silent ; but I am only child- 
ish. You do love me, don't you, 
George ? " 

" As much as 1 ever did." 

A mean subterfuge ; for though it was 
true, perhaps, to him, he knew it was a 
falsehood to her. She attempted to rise 
from her chair ; he sprang to support 
her. 

" You are so gloomy, reserved, to- 
day ! " she continued. 

Still Greenleaf was silent. He aided 
her to resume her seat ; but when he had 
done so, she detained him, seizing his 
arm and then his hand. His heart beat 
rapidly, and he turned away his head to 
avoid the fond but keen scrutiny of her 
eyes, at the same time gently, but in- 
effectually, attempting to free his hand. 
Once more he resolved, since the con- 
versation had taken such a turn, to risk 
the consequences, and prepare her mind 
for a separation. But a sudden thought 
struck her, and, before he could frame a 
sentence, she spoke : 

" You have heard bad news this morn- 
ing?" 

He shook his head. 

" No, I know you are not mercenary ; 
I would not wrong you with the suspi- 
cion." 

" What suspicion, pray ? " he asked, 
turning suddenly towards her. 

" You have not heard ? " 

" I have heard nothing." 

" Pity my foolishness. But my broth- 
er is in difficulty ; he may fail ; perhaps 
has failed even now. Pray, don't chide 
me for my fears. All the world goes 
with the rich and the prosperous." 

" The world has very little company 
just now, then," said Greenleaf, with a 
grim smile. "But assure yourself," he 
continued ; " the dowry of my wife is a 
matter I have never considered. With 
the woman I love" said he, with deep 
emphasis, " honest poverty is what I do 
not dread." 

Interpreting this fervent declaration 
in the natural way, Marcia reached forth 
her arms with sudden fervor, drew him 
nearer, and covered his forehead, lips, 



198 



Bulls and Bears. 



[February, 



and cheeks with kisses. Ever}' kiss fell 
like a spot of mildew on his flesh ; her 
caresses filled him with shame. Could 
he undeceive her ? In her feeble condi- 
tion, the excitement into which she had 
been thrown by her brother's danger was 
all she could bear. False as his position 
was, heartless and empty as his soothing 
words and caresses were, he must con- 
tinue to wear the mask, and show himself 
as he was at some time when she had no 
other trouble to weigh her down. Still 
she chid his gloomy reserve, his absent 
air, and mechanical movements. Was he 
weak, if under such influences his fixed 
resolves bent ? if his nerves felt the old 
thrill ? if his voice took a softer tone ? 
and if he parted from her with something 
of his former tenderness ? He tried to 
excuse himself to his conscience by the 
plea, that the deception once begun must 
be kept up until it could be ended with 
safety. For he saw that her heart was 
really bound up in him. She no longer 
kept up the brilliant fence of repartee ; 
she had abandoned all coquettish arts, 
and, for once at least, was sincerely, fond- 
ly, even foolishly, in love. Home he went, 
sadder than before, his conscience yet 
more aroused, and his resolutions farther 
than ever from accomplishment. 
Poor little Alice ! 

CHAPTER XIV. 

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF. 

MR. SANDFORD walked towards his 
office, that fine autumn morning, in no 
amiable mood. Nature seemed to pro- 
test against his angry violence ; the very 
stones of the pavement seemed to say, 
" He need not thump us in that way ; we 
can't pay his notes." The trees along 
Mount -Vern on Street rustled their leaves 
with a shudder, as he passed under them ; 
they dropped no benison upon a face 
which even the golden morning could 
not lighten. " Let him stride on ! " said 
they ; " we shall be more cheerful in com- 
pany with the maids washing the side- 
walks or taking out the children (bless- 
ed darlings ! ) for an airing." Canaries 



ceased their songs in the windows ; ur- 
chins stopped their hoops and stood on 
the curbstones, eyeing the gloomy man 
askance. When he passed the Granary 
Burying-Ground, he saw a squirrel dart 
down a tree, and scamper over the old 
graves in search of some one of his many 
stores ; then rising on his haunches, he 
munched the pea-nut which he had un- 
earthed, (the gift of some schoolboy, 
months ago,) as much as to say, " We 
know how to look out for hard times ; but 
what have you done with your pea-nuts, 
old fellow, that you look so cross ? Can't 
get 'em, eh ? You should put 'em where 
you'll know where they are." A whisk 
of his tail and he flew up the tree. The 
lesson was lost upon the financier. At 
the office-door he met Bullion, his face 
a trifle more ruddy, his eye with a colder 
glitter, and his queer eyebrow pointing 
with an odder significance. 

" How are you, Sandford V " A very 
short nod. "Cool, this morning." 
Standing with his dump) 1 legs apart, he 
nibbled at the ivory head of his cane. 

"Mr. Bullion," said Sandford, "you 
must help me. You must lift that note. 
Come, I know you can do it, and I'll 
make it worth your while." 

" Can't do it ; you want a long exten- 
sion, I s'pose." 

" Say three or four months." 

" Time is money, as I told you before. 
In four months, with forty thousand dol- 
lars, I could do pretty well," ending the 
sentence in a lower tone, that indicated 
a desire to keep his first thought back. 

" In a time like this, Mr. Bullion, it is 
the duty of every man to assist his neigh- 
bor to the extent of his ability. If there 
is no forbearance, no brotherly aid, how 
are the complicated settlements of a mad 
community like this to be made ? There 
is not money enough to pay what must 
be paid." 

The eyebrow was stiffly pointed as 
Bullion answered, 

" I do forbear. I must forbear. Stear- 
ine owes me ; you indorse ; you can't 
pay, neither of you. I sha'n't get the 
money. I must go without" 



1859.] 



Bulls and Bears. 



199 



It was an injured tone. 

" Then why do you let it go to pro- 
test?" . 

" Only a form, Sandford. Usage of 
the mercantile world. Very irregular 
not to do it. Sorry, but can't help it." 

Mr. Sandford's patience was exhaust- 
ed. 

" It is my turn to-day, Bullion ; I have 
no further resource ; I am ruined. You 
feel strong and look upon my distress in 
triumph. But your turn will come. 
Mark my words. Within a fortnight I 
shall see you rushing down State Street 
in despair ; your property will be swept 
away with a flood, and you will be a beg- 
gar, as you deserve to be. Damn your 
stony heart ! " 

It was the first outburst of profanity 
from Mr. Sandford, too fastidious, usual- 
ly, to allow himself the use of such ex- 
pletives. 

" Sorry to see you excited, Sandford. 
Best to keep temper. Guess you and 
Fayerweather will raise the money. Pity 
Stearine hadn't wick enough in him to 
stand alone. Rather a poor candle, he 
is, he ! he ! Morning ! " 

The gray eyes twinkled, the eyebrow 
whisked, and the sturdy legs bore the 
creditor away. 

Entering the office, Mr. Sandford tried 
to assume a cheerful look. He looked 
over the list of failures, in the " Inde- 
pendent," with something of the interest 
which a patient in a hospital would feel 
when overhearing the report from the 
dead-house. Was there no one of the 
bald or grizzly-haired gentlemen who 
smiled so benignly whom he could ask 
for aid ? Not one ; he knew their cir- 
cumstances ; they had no money at 
command ; all their property was locked 
up in investments. He thought of the 
many chairmen and directors in benevo- 
lent associations with whom he was con- 
nected. No, they were either men of 
moderate means, or had some son or 
nephew or brother in business whose 
credit they must uphold. How gladly 
would he barter all his parchment testi- 
monials for one good " promise to pay " ! 



He groaned almost audibly, and won- 
dered how he could pass the time till the 
close of bank-hours. The suspense was 
a torture as keen as the calamity itself. 

A visitor entered ; it was Plotman. 
He came with a cheerful, even exulting, 
look. 

" Good news, Sandford ! " 

" News ! " exclaimed Sandford, im- 
petuously. " What news ? How much V " 

In his absent state he forgot that Plot- 
man was not aware of his thoughts, and 
associated good news only with an ac- 
commodation to serve his present need. 
But his fluttering expectations were dash- 
ed to the ground with the reply. 

" ' How much,' did you say ? A clean 
majority over all. Your name stands at 
the head of the ticket." 

" I am obliged to you," replied Sand- 
ford, sadly, " but I don't think I can ac- 
cept the nomination." 

" Well, that is rather strong," said Plot- 
man. " You'd best keep your modesty 
for the papers ; it's thrown away on me." 

" I really can't bother with politics." 

" Why in the Devil, then, did you lay 
your corns to get the place, and make me 
all this trouble for nothing ? " 

" I am really sonjy, Plotman ; but, to 
tell you just how it is, I am so much in- 
volved in this fearful monetary pressure 
that I have no time nor heart for any- 
thing else." 

" Confounded spooney ! " muttered 
Plotman, between his teeth. " If I'd 
known he was so weak in the knees, 
I'd have gone in for Spreadeagle, who 
offered a handsome figure." 

" Come in to-morrow, Plotman, and 
we'll talk about it. I can't think about 
it now. I'll make all right with you." 

Still muttering, the disappointed poli- 
tician departed, leaving Sandford in a 
deeper abyss than before. To prevent 
unwelcome visits, the latter left word with 
his clerks that he could see no one what- 
ever. 

To wile away the time, he took out 
his cash-book and private papers. There 
was about a thousand dollars in bank. 

" It will be best to draw that," thought 



200 



Bulls and Bears, 



[February, 



he, "for thei'e's no knowing what may 
happen." 

And the office-boy was dispatched with 
a check for the amount. 

" Let us see what other resources. 
There are Monroe's notes, ten thousand 
dollars. I can raise something on them. 
I'll borrow from Tonsor, who seems to 
have funds enough." 

He sent a clerk and succeeded in ob- 
taining eight thousand dollars for five 
days, by depositing the notes. 

" If worst comes to worst, I have nine 
thousand to fall back upon. Now, what 
next ? Fletcher's note for five hundred, 
with the rather peculiar admission at the 
beginning. I wonder, now, what he 
would give . for this little paper? Possi- 
bly he is in funds. He's a scheming 
devil and hasn't been idle in this gale of 
wind. I'll send for him." 

Fletcher entered with an air of con- 
fidence. 

" Well, Mr. Sandford, you don't bear 
malice, I see. If you didn't want to get 
a saucy answer, you shouldn't have threat- 
ened, the other day." 

" You were hardly civil, Fletcher," 
said Sandford, gravely, " and rather for- 
getful, besides. If I were you, I wouldn't 
bluster until a certain piece of paper was 
safe in my possession." 

" Do you suppose I ever forget that 
paper, or how you bullied it out of me ? 
But you know that at the time when I 
used that five hundred dollars, I had 
money enough, and felt as sure of return- 
ing it the next day as you do of paying 
the ten thousand you had of Monroe." 

Sandford started. 

" How did you know whose money I 
had?" 

. " Never mind. I hear a great many 
things. As I was saying, I didn't steal 
the money, for you didn't miss it till I 
told you ; and if I hadn't been a coward 
and a fool to boot, I should never have 
signed that cursed paper." 

" I have it, though. The law calls it a 
confession of theft." 

Fletcher winced. 

" You have told me that often enough 



before. You needn't touch me on the 
raw to make me remember it." 

He waited, but Sandford made no re- 
ply. Fletcher continued: 

" Well, what is it ? You've something 
on hand, or you wouldn't have sent for 
me." 

" You propose to pay sometime, I be- 
lieve ? " 

" Of course, I do. I've offered to pay 
times enough, you know. I can get the 
money in ten minutes." 

" Can you ! How much ? " 

" Why, the five hundred and interest." 

" I rather think the document is worth 
more money." 

" You'd take my heart's blood for it, 
I know. But you can't get any more 
money than I have got." 

" You were very ready in promising 
five hundred in ten minutes. It seems to 
me that in an hour you might raise a 
larger sum." 

"Do you suppose I am, a. capitalist? 
that I own Fogarty, Danforth, and Dot ''. " 

" I'm sure, I can't tell. Stranger things 
have happened." 

" I wonder if he suspects my connec- 
tion with old Bullion ?" thought Fletcher. 

" I'll make you a fair proposition. 
Fletcher. I need some money, for a few 
days. Get me thirty thousand dollars 
for a week, say ; I'll pay a liberal interest 
and give up the paper." 

" I can't do it. The figure is altogether 
above me. You don't want me to rob 
my employers ? " 

" ' Rob ' is a hard word, Fletcher. No, 
I counsel no crime. You don't want any- 
thing more to think of. But you may 
know some chance to borrow that sum ? " 

Fletcher mused. " If Sandford comos 
to a man like me for such a sum, it must 
be because he is devilish hard up ; and if 
I get him the money, it would likely be 
sunk. I can't do it." 

" No, Mr. Sandford, it's out of the ques- 
tion. Everybody that has money has 
twenty applications for every dollar." 

" Then you'd rather see this paper in 
an officer's hands ? " 

Fletcher's face blanched and his knees 



1859.] 



Butts and Sears. 



201 



shook, but be kept bis resolution in spite 
of bis bodily tremor. 

" I have been like a mouse cuffed be- 
tween a cat's paws so long that I don't 
care to run. If you mean to pounce up- 
on me and finish me, go ahead. I may 
as well die as to be always drending it. 
But you'll please remember what I said 
about overhauling your accounts." 

Sandford found his man firmer than 
he had expected. He changed his tac- 
tics. 

" Fletcher, as you can't do what I 
want, how much will you give outright 
for the little obligation ? You shall have 
it for fifteen hundred dollars. Come, 
now, that's reasonable." 

" Reasonable as the fellow who puts a 
pistol to your head on a dark night in 
the middle of Cambridge bridge." 

"Tut, tut! Don't talk of highway- 
robbery ! I think I am letting you off 
cheap." 

" How do you suppose I can raise fif- 
teen hundred dollars ? " 

" That is your affair." 

" You are as cruel as a bloodhound 
after a runaway nigger." 

" I have once or twice remonstrated 
against your use of harsh words." 

" What's the use of being mealy- 
mouthed ? I owe you five hundred dol- 
lars. Every dollar beyond that you get 
from me you rob me of; and it doesn't 
matter whether it is a pistol or a writ 
that you threaten me with." 

" You persist in a violent tone." 

"I can't talk to suit you, and I shall 
stop. We shall never agree. I'll tell you, 
though, what I will do. I'll give you a 
note, to-morrow, for a thousand dollars, 
on short time, with a good name." 

" Money, Fletcher ! money 1 I don't 
want any note." 

" Well, I'll see what I can do. Per- 
haps I can get the money." 

" And, Fletcher, I advise you to settle 
the affair to-day. It has stood quite long 
enough. Just devote to-day to this little 
matter. Come in before two, not later 
than throe, at any rate. Perhaps your em- 
ployei-s might advance it, that is, rath- 

VOL. JH. 13 



er than have their clerk compromised. 
Suppose I lay the matter before them ? " 

Fletcher's rage broke out afresh. He 
gnashed his teeth and foamed at the 
mouth. If he had had a weapon, it might 
have fared hard with his oppressor. But 
his anger was inarticulate, too mighty, 
too tumultuous, for words. He left the 
office, his eyes glowing like a cat's, and 
his fringy moustache trembling over his 
white teeth. 

Mr. Sandford was somewhat exhil- 
arated, and rubbed his smooth hands 
with energy. " I think he'll come back," 
thought he. " Failure is inevitable. Let 
it come ! We must bear it as we can. 
And for a ruined man I don't know of 
any consolation like a little ready mon- 
ey. Now to play my last cards. These 
shares which I own in the Vortex are 
worth more to-day than they are likely 
to be to-morrow. It would be a shame 
not to dispose of them while they will 
bring something. Fayerweather and the 
others who have agreed to buy at ninety 
per cent are at the Board. I'll get. a 
new hand to take them in. They won't 
suspect, for they think Stearine's note has 
been extended.'' 

He called a junior clerk and dispatched 
the shares to a broker to be sold for cash 
on account of whom it might concern. 
He then locked himself in the back office 
to be free from troublesome visitors, keep- 
ing a cautious lookout for Fletcher, whom 
he expected, and for the clerk who was to 
bring the money. His chief anxiety was 
lest Mr. Fayerweather should come be- 
fore the sale was effected ; and he was 
in a fever until the money was brought 
to him. Through the window he saw his 
friends Monroe, Bullion, and others, who 
called for him and were denied by his 
order; he chose to remain unseen. 

Fletcher did not return. In going out 
he met Bullion, and, telling him that he 
had to pay Sandford a thousand dollars, 
asked for a part of the money due him. 

" Don't be a fool," replied that sturdy 
financier. " Sandford will fail to-day, 
probably. That's the reason for his hur- 
ry to get the money. Let him sweat 



202 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



[February, 



Keep your funds. You can pay his as- 
signee any time these six months to 
come." 

It was near two o'clock. Mr. Sandford 
had in his pocket the proceeds of the 
Vortex shares, the loan from Tonsor, and 
his balance from bank, a comfortable 
sum altogether; and he thought it not 
prudent to risk the whole by waiting for 
Fletcher, who, after all, might not come. 
So, seeing the coast clear, he put on his 
surtout and walked out of the front door 
with an unconcerned air. 

The notary came with the inevitable 
protest. Mr. Fayerweather was the as- 
tounded individual who received it. A 
sudden light broke upon him. He was 
swindled. He took out the Vortex shares 
which he had just bought by agreement, 
and, turning to the transfer-book, found 



that they were Sandford's. The Secre- 
tary had weathered the President with a 
vengeance. 

The lawyer to whom the protested 
note came happened to hold other claims 
against Mr. Fayerweather and the Vor- 
tex, and, naturally judging that the Com- 
pany might be involved in the difficul- 
ties of its officers, he commenced suit 
without a moment's delay. Ill news flies 
fast. In an hour after the first writs were 
served, suit was brought by Tonsor and 
other creditors, and the office was shut. 
The safe was found to hold nothing more 
valuable than duplicates of policies, the 
Company's bank-account was overdrawn, 
its stocks and bonds were sold or pledged, 
and its available assets consisted of the 
office-furniture, a few reams of paper, 
and half a dozen sticks of sealinu-wax. 



[To be continued.] 






"THE NEW LIFE" OF DANTE. 



[Continued.] 



II. 



WERE the author of the " Vita Nuova " 
unknown, its story of youth and love 
would still possess a charm, as standing 
in the dawn of modern literature, the 
first book in which modern sentiment 
finds free expression. It would be of in- 
terest, as contrasted with the later growth 
of the sentimental element in literature, 
which speedily exhibits the influence of 
factitious feeling, of self-conscious effort, 
and of ambitious display. The sentiment 
of the " Vita Nuova " is separated by the 
wide gulf that lies between simplicity 
and affectation from the sentimentality 
of Petrarch's sonnets. But connected as 
it is with Dante's life, the first of that 
series of works in which truth, intensity, 
and tenderness of feeling are displayed 
as in the writings of no other man, its in- 
terest no longer arises merely from itself 



and from its place in literature, but be- 
comes indissolubly united with that which 
belongs by every claim to the " Divina 
Commedia " and to the life of Dante. 

When the " Vita Nuova " was com- 
pleted, Dante was somewhat less than 
twenty-eight years old. Beatrice had 
died between two and three years be- 
fore, in 1290; and he seems to have 
pleased himself after her loss by recall- 
ing to his memory the sweet incidents 
of her life, and of her influence upon 
himself. He begins with the words: 

" In that part of the book of my mem- 
ory before which little can be read is 
found a rubric which says : Incipit Vita 
Nova [' The New Life begins ']. Under 
which rubric I find the words written 
which it is my intention to copy into this 
little book, if not all of them, at least 
their meaning." 

This introduction, short as it is, exhib- 



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"The New Life" of Dante. 



203 



its a characteristic trait of Dante's mind, 
in the declaration of his intention to copy 
from the book of his memory, or, in other 
words, to write the true records of expe- 
rience. Truth was the chief quality of 
his intellect, and upon this, as upon an 
unshaken foundation, rest the marvellous 
power and consistency of his imagina- 
tions. His heart spoke clearly, and he 
interpreted its speech plainly in his 
words. His tendency to mysticism often, 
indeed, led him into strange fancies ; but 
these, though sometimes obscure, are 
never vague. After these few words 
of preface, the story begins : 

" Nine times now, since my birth, the 
heaven of light had turned almost to 
the same point in its gyration, when 
first appeared before my eyes the glo- 
rious lady of my mind, who was called 
Beatrice, by many who did not know 
why they thus called her.* She had 
now been in this life so long, that in 
its time the starred heaven had moved 
toward the east one of the twelve parts 
of a degree ; f so that about the begin- 
ning of her ninth year she appeared to 
me, and I near the end of my ninth year 
saw her. She appeared to me clothed 
in a most noble color, 'a becoming and 
modest crimson, and she was girt and 
adorned in the style that suited her 
extreme youth. At that instant. I say 
truly, the spirit of life, which dwells in 
the most secret chamber of the heart, 
began to tremble with such violence, 
that it appeared horribly in the least 
pulses, and, trembling, said these words : 
Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens domi- 
nabitvr mihi! [Behold a god, stronger 
than I, who, coming, shall rule me ! % ] 

* It may be that Dante here refers to the 
meaning of the name Beatrice, She 'who 
rerultrt happy, Site who bletset. 

t According to the astronomy of the times, 
the sphere of the stars moved from west to 
east one degree in a hundred years. The 
twelfth of a degree was, therefore, eight and 
a half years. See the Connlo, Tratt. II. c. vi. 

| Compare with this passage Canzone x. 
st. 6, 6. Especially the lines, 

" K, sr> '1 libro non erra, 
Lo spirito maggior tremb si forts, 



" At that instant, the spirit of the soul, 
which dwells in the high chamber to 
which all the spirits of the senses bring 
their perceptions, began to marvel great- 
ly, and, addressing the spirits of tlfe sight, 
said these words : Apparuit join leatiludo 
vestra. [Now hath appeared your bliss.] 
At that instant the natural spirit, which 
dwells in that part where the nourishment 
is supplied, began to weep, and, weeping, 
said these words : lieu miser ! quid fre- 
quenter imped ilus ero deinceps. [Woe is 
me wretched ! because frequently hence- 
forth shall I'be hindered.] 

" From this time forward I say that 
Love lorded over my soul, which had 
been thus quickly put at \his disposal ; * 
and he began to exercise over me such 
control and such lordship, through the 
power which my imagination gave to him, 
that I was obliged to perform completely 
all his pleasure. He commanded me ma- 
ny times that I should seek to see this 
youthful angel, so that I in my boyhood of- 
ten went seeking her, and saw her of such 
noble and praiseworthy deportment, that 
truly of her might be said that saying of 
the poet Homer : ' She does not seem the 

Che parve ben, che morte 

Per lui in questo mondo giunta fosse." 

" And, if the book errs not, the chief spirit so 
greatly trembled, that it plainly appeared 
that death for him had arrived in this world." 

When Dante meets Beatrice in Purgatory, 
he says, referring to this time, and it is 
pleasant to note these connections between 
his earliest and his latest works, 
" Tosto che nella vista mi percosse 
L' alta virtu, che gia m' avea trafitto 
Prima ch' io fuor di pnerizia fosse." 

Canto xxx. 1. 40-42. 

* The text of the Vita Numa is often un- 
certain. Here, for example, many authorities 
concur in the reading, " In qualefu gi tosfo a lui 
dispcmstita," " which had been so quickly be- 
trothed to him." But we prefer to read "</*- 
posta," as being more in accordance with 
the remainder of the figure concerning Love. 
Many other various readings will be passed 
over without notice, but a translation might 
be exposed to the charge of inaccuracy, if it 
were judged by the text of any special edi- 
tion of the original, without comparison with 
others. The text usually followed in these 
versions is that of Fraticelli. 



204 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



daughter of a mortal, but of God.' And 
it befell that her image, which stayed 
constantly with me, inspired boldness in 
Love to hold lordship over me ; but it was 
of such noble virtue, that it never suffer- 
ed that Love should rule without the faith- 
ful counsel of Reason in those matters in 
which such counsel could be useful." 

Such is the account which Dante gives 
of the beginning of his love for Beatrice. 
The tenderness and purity of his pas- 
sion are obscured, but not concealed, by 
quaintness of expression and formality of 
learning. In literary style the passage 
displays the uncertain hand of youth, and 
in a translation something is lost of the 
charm of simplicity which pervades the 
original. But in this passage the key- 
note of Dante's life is struck. 

Passing over many things, he says 
that exactly nine years were complet- 
ed after the above-described appearance 
of this most gentle lady, when it hap- 
pened that " she appeared before me 
clothed in purest white between two no- 
ble ladies, and, passing along the street, 
she turned her eyes toward that place 
where I stood very timidly, and, by her 
ineffable courtesy, which is now reward- 
ed in eternity, saluted me with such vir- 
tue, that I seemed to behold all the 
bounds of bliss. The hour when her 
most sweet salutation reached me was 
exactly the ninth of that day ; and since 
it was the first time that her words came 
to my ears, I felt such great delight, that, 
as it were intoxicated, I turned away 
from the crowd, and, betaking myself to 
the solitary place of my chamber, sat 
myself down to think of this most cour- 
teous lady, and, thinking of her, a sweet 
slumber came upon me, in which a mar- 
vellous vision appeared to me." After 
describing this vision, he says, that, think- 
ing of what had appeared to him, he 
" proposed to bring it to the knowledge 
of many who were famous poets at that 
time ; and since I had already seen in 
myself the art of speaking .words in 
rhyme, I proposed to write a sonnet, in 
which I would salute all the vassals of 
Love ; and praying them to give an inter- 



pretation of my vision, I wrote to them 
that which I had seen in my slumber. 
And I began then this sonnet : 

" To every captive soul and gentle heart 

Before whose sight may come the pres- 
ent word, 
That they may thereupon their thoughts 

impart, 
Be greeting in Love's name, who is their 

lord. 
" Now of those hours wellnigh one third had 

gone 
In which each star appears in heaven most 

bright, 

When on a sudden Love before me shone, 
To think upon whose being gives me fright. 
" Joyful seemed Love, and he was keeping 
My heart within his hands, while on his arm 
He held my Lady, covered o'er and sleep- 
ing. 

" Then waking her, he with this flaming heart 
Did humbly feed her, fearful of some harm. 
Sudden I saw him weep, and quick depart." 

This sonnet is somewhat obscure in 
the details of its meaning, and has little 
beauty, but it is of interest as being the 
earliest poetic composition by Dante that 
has been preserved for us, and it is curi- 
ous as being the account of a vision. In 
our previous article on the " New Life," 
we referred to the fact of this book being 
in great part composed of the account 
of a series of visions, thus connecting 
itself in the form of its imaginations with 
the great work of Dante's later years. 
As a description of things unseen ex- 
cept by the inward eye, this sonnet is 
bound in poetic connection to the no- 
bler visions of the " Divina Commedia." 
The private stamp of Dante's imagina- 
tion is indelibly impressed upon it. 

He tells us that many answers were 
made to this sonnet, and " among those 
who replied to it was he whom I call 
the first of my friends, and he wrote a 
sonnet which began, 

' Thou seest in my opinion every worth.' 
This was, as it were, the beginning of 
our friendship when he knew that it 
was I who had sent these verses to him." 
This first of Dante's friends was Guido 
Cavalcanti. Their friendship was of long 
duration, beginning thus in Dante's nine- 
teenth year, and ending only with Guide's 



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" The New Life " of Dante. 



205 



death, in 1300, when Dante was thirty-five 
years old. It may be taken as a proof of 
its intimacy and of Dante's high regard 
for the genius of his friend, that, when 
Dante, in his course through Hell, at 
Easter in 1300, represents himself as be- 
ing recognized by the father of Guido, 
the first words of the old man to him are, 
" If through this blind prison thou goest 
through loftiness of soul, where is my son? 
oh, why is he not with thee ? " * 

The sonnet of Guido, in reply to that 
sent him by Dante, has been preserved, 
together with the replies by two other 
contemporary poets; but Dante says of 
them all, "The true meaning of my 
sonnet was not then seen by any one, 
though now it is plain to the simplest" 

After this vision, the poet, whose soul 
was wholly devoted to his most gentle 
lady, was brought by Love into so frail 
a condition of health, that his friends 
became anxious for him, and questioned 
him about that which he most wished to 
conceal. Then he told them that it was 
Love which had brought him to this pass. 
But when they asked him, " For whom 
has Love thus wasted thee?" he looked at 
them smiling, and said nothing. 

" One day it happened," he goes on to 
relate, " that this most gentle lady sat 
where words concerning the Queen of 
Glory are heard, and I was in a place 
from which I beheld my bliss. Between 
her and me in a direct line sat a gentle 
lady of most pleasing aspect, who looked 
at me oftt-n, wondering at my gaze, which 
seemed to terminate upon her ; and many 
observed her looks. So great attention, 
indeed, was paid to this, that when I went 
out from the place I heard some one say, 
' Behold how that lady wastes the life of 
this man ! ' and naming her, I heard that 
they spoke of her who had been in the 
path of the straight line which, parting 
from my most gentle Beatrice, had ended 
in my eyes." Then he says he thought 
to make this lady serve as a screen for 
his real love, and he did this so well that 
in a short time many persons fancied 
they knew his secret. And in order to 
* Inferno, x. 58-60. 



deceive them still more, he addressed to 
this lady many trifles in rhyme, of which 
he will insert in this account of his " New 
Life " only those which bear reference to 
Beatrice. 

Some time after this, " it was the pleas- 
ure of the Lord of the Angels to call to 
his glory a young and beautiful lady, 
who had been very lovely in the city of 
Florence. And I saw her body lying 
without its soul, surrounded by many la- 
dies who wept grievously. Then remem- 
bering that I had formerly seen her in 
company with that most gentle lady, I 
could not restrain some tears ; and, weep- 
ing, I proposed to say some words about 
her death, as a return for that I had seen 
her sometimes with my lady." Then, he 
says, he wrote two poem?, of which we 
give the last, adding to it his verbal com- 
ment, as an example of the style of com- 
mentary with which he has accompanied 
all the poems of the " Vita Nuova " : 

" villain Death, compassion's foe, 

The Mother from of old of woe, 

Inexorable judge severe, 

Thou givest sorrow for the heart to bear; 

Wherefore in grief I go, 

And blaming thee my very tongue out- 
wear. 

" And if of every grace thou wouldst be 
bare, 

It only needs that I declare 

The guilt of this thy sinful blow, 

So that all those shall know, 

And each shall be thy foe, 

Who erst were nurtured with Love's ten- 
der care. 

" For thou hast taken from the world the 
grace 

And virtue which are woman's praise, 

And in youth's gayest days 

The charm of loveliness thou dost deface. 
" Who is this lady is not to be told, 

Save as these qualities do make her known. 

He who deserves salvation may alone 

Have hope companionship with her to hold. 

" This sonnet is divided into four parts.* 
In the first I address Death by certain of 
her proper names ; in the second, speak- 
ing to her, I tell the reason why I am 
moved to blame her; in the third, I re- 

* Dante calls this little poem a sonnet, al- 
though, strictly, the name does not belong 
to it. 



206 



" The New Life " of Dante. 



[February, 



vile her ; in the fourth, I speak to a per- 
son undefined, although definite as re- 
gards my intention. The second part 
begins at Thou givest; the third at And 
if of every grace; the fourth at He who 
deserves." 

After this, Dante tells of a journey 
he was forced to take, in the direction 
of the city to which the lady who had 
afforded him the means of disguising his 
real love had gone. He says, that, on 
the way, which he calls the way of sighs, 
he met Love, who was sad in aspect, and 
clad like a pilgrim, and that Love told 
him the name of another lady who must 
thenceforth serve as his screen to conceal 
his secret. He goes on to relate, that, af- 
ter his return,* he sought out this lady, 
and made her his defence so effectually, 
that many persons spoke of it beyond the 
terms of courtesy, which weighed on him 
heavily. And on account of this lying 
talk which defamed him greatly, he says 
that Beatrice, " the most gentle lady, who 
was the enemy of aH the vices, and the 
queen of virtue, passing by a certain 
place, denied me her most sweet salute, 
in which consisted all my bliss. And de- 
parting a little from the present subject, 
I will declare that which her salutation 
effected within me. I say, then, that, 
whenever she appeared, in my hope for 
her admirable salutation I no longer had 
an enemy, for a flame of charity pos- 
sessed me which made me pardon every 
one who had done me wrong ; and if at 
that time any one had asked anything of 
me, my only answer would have been 
Love, and my face would have been 
clothed with humility. And when she 
was near to giving me a salutation, a 

* In his few words of introduction to the 
Vila Nuova, Dante implies that he shall not 
copy out into his book all his compositions 
relating to its subject. Some of the poems 
of this period, not inluded in the Vita Nuova, 
have been preserved, and we propose to refer 
to them in their appropriate places. Com- 
pare with this passage Sonnet Ixxix., Poesie 
Liriche, ed. Fraticelli, 

" Se '1 bello aspetto non mi fosse tolto," 
which was apparently written during Dante's 
absence from Beatrice. 



spirit of Love, destroying all the other 
spirits of the senses, drove out the feeble 
spirits of the sight, and said to them, ' Go 
and do honor to your lady,' and he stayed 
in their place. And whoever had wished 
to know Love might have done so by 
looking at the trembling of my eyes." 

After the salutation which had been 
wont to bring to him a joy almost beyond 
his capacity had been refused to him, 
Dante went weeping to his chamber, 
where he could lament without being 
heard ; and there he fell asleep, crying 
like a little child who has been beaten. 
And in his sleep he had a vision of Lore, 
who entered into talk with him, and bade 
him write a poem, adorned with sweet 
harmony, in which he should set forth 
the truth and fidelity of his love for Bea- 
trice, and should sue for her pardon. 
Dante awoke at the ninth hour of the 
day, and at once began the poem, of 
which the following is 1 a portion. He 
personifies his poem, and he bids it 

" Tell her,' Lady, this his heart is staved 
On faithfulness so sure and firm, 
Save to serve you it has no other care : 
Early 'twas yours, and never has it strayed.' 
But if she trust not what thou dost affirm, 
Tell her to ask of Love, who will the truth 

declare; 

And at the end, beg her, with humble prayer, 
That she her pardon of its wrong would 

give; 

Then let her bid that I no longer live, 
And she shall see her servant quick obey." * 

After this poem was finished, Dante 
describes what he calls " a battle of 
thoughts " concerning Love within his 
mind, and then goes on to relate that it 
happened one day that he was taken, by 
a friend who thought to give him pleas- 
ure, to a feast at which many ladies were 
present. " They were assembled," he 
says, " to attend a lady who was married 
that day, and, according to the custom of 
the city, they bore her company at her 
first sitting at table in the dwelling of her 
new husband." Dante, believing thus 
to do pleasure to his friend, proposed to 
stand in waiting upon these ladies. But 
at the moment of this intention he felt a 
* Compare Canz. x. and xi. 



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" The New Life " of Dante. 



207 



sudden tremor, which caused him to lean 
for support against a painting which ran 
round the wall,* and, raising his eyes, he 
beheld Beatrice. His confusion bec-ame 
apparent; and the ladies, not excepting 
Beatrice herself, laughed at his strange 
appearance. . Then his friend took him 
from their presence, and having asked 
him what so ailed him, Dante replied, 
" I have set my feet on that edge of life 
beyond which no man can go with intent 
to return." Then leaving him, he went 
to the chamber of tears, weeping and 
ashamed ; and in his trouble he wrote 
a sonnet to Beatrice, in which he says, 
that, if she had known the cause of his 
trouble, he believes that she would have 
felt pity for him.f 

The foregoing passage, like many oth- 
ers in the " Vita Nuova," is full of the 
intense and exaggerated expressions of 
passionate feeling. But this feeling is 
recorded with a frank simplicity which 
carries conviction of the sincerity of emo- 
tion. It may be laughed at, but it cannot 
be doubted. It is possible, though hardly 
probable, that the scene took place at the 
wedding festival of Beatrice herself. She 
was married sometime previous to 1287, 
and unless a reference to this event be 
found here, no notice of it is taken by 
Dante in what he has written concern- 
ing her. That the fact of her marriage 
changed in no degree the feeling with 
which Dante regarded her is plain. His 
love was of no low quality, to be altered 

* This is, perhaps, the earliest reference 
in modern literature to the use of painting as 
a decoration for houses. It is probable that 
it was a recent application of the art, and 
resulted from the revival of interest in its 
works which accompanied the revival of the 
art. We shall have occasion again to note a 
reference to painting. 

f To this period, apparently, belong Sonnets 
xxix. and xxx. of the general collection. The 
last may not unlikely have been omitted in the 
Vita Nuora on account of the tenderness with 
which the death of Beatrice had invested ev- 
ery memory of her, preventing the insertion 
of a poem which might seem harsh in its ex- 
pression: 

" I curse the day on which 1 first beheld 
The light of thy betraying eyes." 



by earthly circumstance. It was a love 
of the soul. No change or separation 
that left the being untouched could part 
him from it. To the marriage of true 
souls there was no impediment, and he 
would admit none, in her being the wife 
of another. The qualities which she pos- 
sessed as a maiden belonged to her no 
less as a wife. 

It was in .the same year, probably, as 
that in which the "Vita Nuova" was 
composed and published, that Dante 
himself was married to Gemma Donati. 
There are stories that their married life 
was unhappy. But these stories have 
not the weight of even contemporary 
gossip. Possibly they arose from the 
fact of the long separation between 
Dante and his wife during his exile. 
Boccaccio insinuates more than he as- 
serts, and he concludes a vague declama- 
tion about the miseries of married life 
with the words, " Truly I do not affirm 
that these things happened to Dante, 
for I do not know." Dante keeps ut- 
ter silence in his works, certainly giv- 
ing no reason to suppose that domestic 
trials were added to his other burdens. 
One thing is known which deserves re- 
membrance, that, when, after soma 
years, a daughter was born to him, the 
name which she received was Beatrice. 

In the next few pages of the " Vita 
Nuova " Dante describes various thoughts 
which came to his mind concerning his 
appearance when in presence of his la- 
dy ; but, passing over these, we come to 
a passage which we give in full, as con- 
taining a delightful picture from Florence 
in its old time, and many sentences of 
sweet and characteristic feeling. 

" Many persons had now learned from 
my looks the secret of my heart. And 
it happened that certain ladies, who well 
knew my heart, each of them having wit- 
nessed many of my discomfitures, had 
assembled together, taking pleasure in 
each other's company. And I, by chance 
passing near them, was addressed by one 
of these gentle ladies. She who called 
to me was very graceful in her speech, 
so that when I reached them, and saw 



208 



"The New Life" of Dante. 



[February, 



well that my most gentle lady was not 
with them, reassuring myself, I saluted 
them, and asked what might be their 
pleasure. The ladies were many, and 
some of them were laughing together, 
and others looked at me, waiting for 
what I might say, while others spoke 
among themselves, and one of them, 
turning her eyes toward me, and call- 
ing me by name, said, ' To what end 
dost thou love this lady, since thou canst 
not support her presence ? Tell us, for 
it is certain that the object of such a 
love must be a very strange one.' And 
when she had said these words to me, 
not only she, but all the others, be- 
gan to attend in expectation of my re- 
ply. Then I said to them, 'Ladies, the 
object of my love was, in truth, the salu- 
tation of that lady of whom perhaps 
you speak ; and in that dwelt the bliss 
which was the end of all my desires. 
But since it has pleased her to deny it 
to me, my lord Love, thanks be to him, 
has placed all my bliss in that which 
cannot be taken from me.' Then these 
ladies began to speak together, and, as 
we sometimes see rain falling mingled 
with beautiful snow, so, it seemed to me, 
I saw their words mingled with sighs. 
And after they had spoken for some 
time among themselves, the same lady 
who had first spoken to me said to me, 
' We pray thee that thou wouldst tell us 
in what consists this thy bliss.' And I, 
replying to her, said, 'In those words 
which speak my lady's praise.' And she 
answered, ' If thou sayest truth in this, 
those words which thou hast spoken con- 
cerning thine own condition must have 
been written with another intention.'* 
Then I, thinking on these words, and, as 
it were, ashamed of myself, departed from 
them, and went, saying to myself, ' Since 
there is such bliss in those words which 

* This refers to the sonnets Dante had 
written about his own trouble and the con- 
flict of his thoughts. It will be observed 
that the words " speak " and " speech " are 
used in reference to poetic compositions. In 
those days the poet was commonly called il 
dicitore in rima, "..the speaker in rhyme," or 
simply il dicitore. 



praise my lady, why has my speech been 
of other things ? ' And I proposed to take 
always for my subject, henceforward, the 
praise of this most gentle lady. And think- 
ing much on this, I seemed to myself to 
have taken too lofty a subject for my pow- 
er, so that I did not dare to fcegin. Thus 
I delayed some days, with the desire to 
speak, and with a fear of beginning. 

" Then it happened, that, walking along 
a road, at the side of which ran a very 
clear stream, so great a wish to speak 
came to me, that I began to think on 
the method I should observe ; and I 
thought that to speak of her would not 
be becoming, unless I addressed my 
words to ladies, and not to every lady, 
but only to those who are gentle, and 
not mere women.* Then I say that my 
tongue spoke as if moved by its own 
accord, and said, ' Ladies who have intel- 
ligence of Love.' These words I laid by 
in my mind with great joy, thinking to 
take them for my beginning. And re- 
turning to the city, after some days I 
began this Canzone : f 

* The epithet which Dante constantly ap- 
plies to Beatrice is "most gentle," gentill!*- 
sima, while other ladies are called gentile, 
" gentle." Here he makes the distinction be- 
tween the donna and the donna gentile. The 
word is used with a signification similar to 
that which it has in our own early literature, 
and fuller than that which it now retains. It 
refers both to race, as in the phrase '' of gen- 
tle birth," and to the qualities of character. 
" Gentleness means the same as nobleness," 
says Dante, in the Convito; "and by noble- 
ness is meant the perfection of its own na- 
ture in anything." Tratt. iv. c. 14-16. 

The delicacy and the dignity of meaning 
attaching to the word render it an epithet 
especially appropriate to Beatrice, as imply- 
ing all that is loveliest in person and charac- 
ter. Its use in the Vita Nuova is the more to 
be remarked, as in the Divina Commedia it is 
never applied to Beatrice. Its appropriate- 
ness ceased with her earthly life, for there 
was " another glory of the celestial body." 

t This Canzone is one of the most beautiful 
of Dante's minor poems. We have preferred 
to give it in a literal translation, rather than 
to attempt one in which the involved rhyme 
of the original should be preserved, fearing 
lest this could not be done without sacrifice 
of the meaning to the form. The original 



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"The New Life" of Dante. 



209 



" Ladies who have intelligence of Love, 
I of my lady wish with you to speak; 
Not that to tell her praise in full I think, 
But to discourse that I may ease my mind. 

" I say that when I think upon her worth, 
So sweet doth Love make himself feel to me, 
That if I then did not my courage lose, 
Speaking I would enamor all mankind. 
I do not wish so loftily to speak, 
Lest I should fail and fall through very fear. 
But of her gentle nature I will- treat 
With lightest touch compared with her desert, 
Ladies and damsels bound to Love, with you; 
For unto others this may not be told. 

" An Angel cries aloud in tongue divine, 
And says, ' Sire ! in the world is seen 
A miracle in action, that proceeds 
From out a soul which far as here doth shine.' 
The Heavens, which have no other want, in- 
deed, 

But that of her, demand her of her Lord, 
And every Saint doth for this favor beg; 
Only Compassion our part defends. 
What sayeth God? what of Madonna means? 
' my delights, now be content in peace 
That, while I please, your hope should there 

remain 

Where dwelleth one who loss of her awaits, 
And who shall say in Hell to the condemned, 
" I have beheld the hope of those in bliss." ' # 

" My lady is desired in high heaven. 
Her virtues now will I make known to you. 
I say, whoso a gentle lady would appear 
Should go with her: for when she passeth by, 
Love casts a frost upon all villain hearts, 
So that their every thought doth freeze and die ; 
And whoso bears to stay and look on her 
Will nobler thing become or else will die; 
And when one finds that he may worthy be 
To look on her, he doth his virtue prove; 
For then that comes to him which gives him 

health, 

And humbleth him till he forgets all wrong; 
And God hath given a sti'l greater grace, 
That who hath spoke with her cannot end ill. 

'' Love says of her, ' How can a mortal thing 

must be rend by those who would understand 
its grace of expression combined with its 
depth of feeling. Dnnte himself prized this 
Canzone, nn<! represents Buonagiunta da Luc- 
ca in Purgatory as addressing him, 
" Ma dl ' io veggio qul colui che fuore 
Trasse le nuove rime, corninciando: 
Donne, f/i' avete inttUttto tf Anwre." 

" But tc'l me if I see him who wrote the 
new rhymes, beginning, ' Ladies who have 
intelligence of Love.' " Pure/at, c. xxiv. 
1. 49-51. 

* Note the reference implied in these words 
to the journey of Dante through Hell. 



Be thus in every part adorned and pure? * 
Then, gazing on her, to himself he swears 
That God in her a creature new designs. 
Color of pearl doth clothe her, as it were, 
Not in excess, but most becomingly. 
Whate'er of good Nature can make she is; 
And by her model Beauty proves itself. 
From out her eyes, wherever they may move, 
Spirits inflamed with love do issue forth, 
Which strike the eyes of whoso looks on her, 
And enter so that every heart they find. 
Love you behold depicted on her face, 
On which with fixed look no one can gaze. 
" I know, Canzone, thou wilt go to speak 
With many ladies, when I send thee forth; 
And now I bid thee, having bred thee up 
Like to a young and simple child of Love, 
That where thou goest thou shouldst praying 

say, 

' Teach me which way to go^for I am sent 
To her with praise of whom I am adorned.' 
And if thou wishest not to go in vain, 
Kemain not there where villain folk may be; 
Endeavor, if thou mayst, to be acquaint 
Only with ladies, or with courteous men, 
Who thee will guide upon the quickest way. 
Love thou wilt find in company with her, 
And to them both commend me as thou 

shouldst." 

After explaining, according to his cus- 
tom, and marking the divisions of this po- 
em, Dante copies out a sonnet in which he 
answers the question of one of his friends, 
who, he says, perhaps entertaining an ex- 
pectation of him beyond what was due, 
asked him, ' What is Love ? ' Many of 
the poets of that time tried their hands in 
giving an answer to this difficult ques- 
tion, and Dante begins his with confirming 
the opinion expressed by one of them : 
" Love is but one thing with the gentle heart, 

As in the saying of the sage we find." * 

* It is probable that Dante refers to the first 
of a Canzone by Guido Guinicelli, which says, 
" Within the gentle heart Love always stays," 
a verse which he may have had still in his 
memory when he mokes Francesca da Kimini 
say, (Inf. v. 100,) 

" Love which by gentle heart is quickly learn- 
ed." 

For other definitions of Love as under- 
stood by the Italian poets of the trecento, see 
Gnido Cavalcanti's most famous and most 
obscure Canzone, Donna mi priega ; the son- 
net (No. xlii.) falsely ascribed to Dante, J/oW 
vokndo dir the fmse Aiiwre ; the sonnet by 
Jacopo da Lentino, Anwre e un desio che rien 
dot core ; and many others. 



210 



The New Life " of Dante. 



[February, 



Another sonnet follows upon this, tell- 
ing how this Love was awakened by 
Beatrice, and beginning with the exqui- 
site praise, 

" Within her eyes my lady beareth Lore, 
So that who looks on her is gentle made."* 

Not many days after this, the father of 
Beatrice died.f " And inasmuch as it is 
the custom in the above-mentioned city 
for ladies to assemble with ladies, and 
men with men, in such affliction, many 
ladies assembled at the house where Bea- 
trice was weeping piteously. And see- 
ing certain of them returning from her, I 
heard them speak of this most gentle la- 
dy, how she was lamenting When 

these ladies had passed, I remained in 
such grief that tears began to fall, and, 
putting my hands before my eyes, I cov- 
ered my face. And if it had not been 
that I expected to hear further of her, 
for I stood near by where most of the 
ladies who came from her passed, I should 
have hidden myself as soon as the tears 
assailed me. While I still delayed, more 
ladies passed by, talking together and say- 
ing, ' Who of us should ever be joyful af- 
ter hearing this lady speak so piteously ? ' 
After these others passed, who said, as 
they went by, ' This one who is here 
weeps neither more nor less than if he 
had seen her as we have. And then 
others said of me, ' See ! so overcome is 
he, that he seems not himself.' And thus 
these ladies passing by, I heard speech of 
her and of myself." And going away, 
after this, he wrote two sonnets, telling 
of what he had seen and heard.J 

It happened not long after this time 
that Dante was seized with grievous ill- 
ness, which reduced him to such a state 
of weakness that he lay as one unable to 
move. And on the ninth day, suffering 

* Compare with this Sonnet xl., 
" Dagli occhi della mia donna si muove." 
t Folco Portinari died December 31, 1289. 
| Compare with this passage Sonnet xlvi., 
which seems to have been written on this oc- 



casion: 



" Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate," 
and Sonnet xlvii., 

x " Onde venite voi, cosi pensose? " 



greatly, he thought of his lady, and, re- 
flecting on the frailty of life even at its 
best, the thought struck him that even 
the most gentle Beatrice must at some 
time die. And upon this, such conster- 
nation seized him that his fancy began to 
wander, and, he says, " It seemed to me 
that I saw ladies, with hair dishevelled, 
and marvellously sad, pass weeping by, 
and that I saw the sun grow dark, so 
that the stars showed themselves of such 
a color as to make me deem they wept 
And it appeared to me that the birds as 
they flew fell dead, and that there were 
great earthquakes. And struck with won- 
der at this fantasy, and greatly alarmed, 
I imagined that a friend came to me, 
who said, ' Dost thou not know ? Thy 
admirable lady has departed from this 
world.' Then I began to weep very 
piteously, and wept not only in imagina- 
tion, but with my eyes shedding real tears. 
Then I imagined that I looked toward 
heaven, and it seemed to me that I saw a 
multitude of angels who were returning 
upwards, having before them a little cloud 
of exceeding whiteness. It seemed to 
me that these angels sang gloriously, and 
that the words of their song were these : 
' Osanna in excelxis ! ' and other than 
these I did not hear.* 

" Then the heart in which abode such 
great love seemed to say to me, ' It is true 
that our lady lies dead." And thereupon 
I seemed to go to behold the body in 
which that most noble and blessed soul 
had been. And the erring fancy was so 
powerful that it showed to me this lady 
dead, and it appeared to me that ladies 
were covering her head with a white 
veil, and that her face had such an as- 
pect of humility that it seemed to say, ' I 
behold the beginning of peace.' " 

Then Dante called upon Death to come 
to him ; and when he had beheld in his 
imagination the sad mysteries which are 
performed for the dead, he seemed to 

* In the Divina Commedia frequent reference 
is made to the singing of Osanna by the An- 
gels. See Purgat. xi. 11; xxix. 51; Par. vii. 
1; xxviii. 94, 118; xxxii. 135; and especially 
viii. 28. 



1859.] 



The New Life " of Dante. 



211 



return to his own chamber. And so 
strong was his imagining, that, weeping, 
he said with his true voice, " O most 
beautiful soul ! how is he blessed who 
beholds thee ! " Upon this, a young and 
gentle lady, who was watching by his bed, 
thinking that he was grieving for his own 
pain, began to weep ; whereon other la- 
dies who were in the chamber drew near 
and roused him from his dream. Then 
they asked him by what he had been 
troubled ; and he told all that he had seen 
in fancy, keeping silence only with re- 
gard to the name of Beatrice ; and when, 
some time after, he recovered from his 
illness, he wrote a poem which related 
his vision. 

The next incident of his new life which 
Dante tells is one of a different nature, 
and of pleasant character. One day he 
saw Love coming to him full of joy ; and 
his own heart became so joyful that it 
seemed to him it could not be his heart, 
so changed was its condition. Then he 
saw approaching him a lady of famous 
beauty, who had been the lady of his first 
friend. Her name was Giovanna, but 
on account of her beauty she was called 
Primavera, which means Spring. And 
with her was Beatrice. Then Love, af- 
ter they had passed, explained the hid- 
den meaning of the name Primavera, 
and said, that, by one considering sub- 
tilely, Beatrice would be called Love, on 
account of the great resemblance she 
bore to him. Then Dante, thinking over 
these things, wrote this sonnet to his 
friend, believing that he still admired the 
beauty of this gentle Primavera : 

" An amorous spirit in my heart who lay 
I felt awaken from his slumber there; 
And then I saw Love come from far away, 
But scarce I knew him for his joyous air. 

" ' Honor to me,' he said, ' think now to pay,' 
And all his words with smiles compan- 
ioned were. 

Then as my lord awhile with me did stay, 
Along the way whence he appeared 
whilere 

" The Lady Joan and Lady Bice I see, 

Coming toward the place wherein I was ; 
And the two marvels side by side did 
move. 

* Then, as my mind now tells it unto me, 



Love said, ' This one is Spring, and this, 

because 
She so resembleth me, is named Love.' " * 

After this sonnet, Dante enters on a 
long and fanciful discourse on the use of 
figurative language, to explain how he 
speaks of Love as if it were not a mere 
notion of the intellect, but as if it had a 
corporeal existence. There is much cu- 
rious matter in this dissertation, and it is 
one of the most striking examples that 
could be found of the youthful character 
of the literature at the time in which 
Dante was writing, and of the little famil-* 
iarity which those in whose hands his 
book was likely to fall possessed of the 
common forms of poetry, and of the style 
of the ancient Latin poets. 

Returning from this digression, he says : 

" This most gentle lady, of whom there 
has been discourse in what precedes, 
reached such favor among the people, 
that when she passed along the way per- 
sons ran to see her, which gave me won- 
derful delight. And when she was near 
any one, such modesty took possession of 
his heart, that he did not dare to raise 
his eyes or to return her salutation ; and 
to this, should any one doubt it, many, 
as having experienced it, could bear wit- 
ness for me. She, crowned and clothed 
with humility, took her way, displaying 
no pride in that which she saw and heard. 
Many, when she had passed, said, ' This 
is not a woman ; rather is she one of the 
most beautiful angels of heaven.' Others 
said, ' She is a miracle. Blessed be the 
Lord who can perform such a marvel ! ' 
I say that she showed herself so gentle 
and so full of all beauties, that those who 
looked on her felt within themselves a 
delight so pure and sweet that they could 
not smile ; nor was there any who could 
look at her and not feel need at first to 
sigh. These and more wonderful things 
proceeded from her, marvellously and in 
reality. Wherefore I, thinking on all 
this, proposed to say some words, in which 
I would exhibit her marvellous and ex- 
cellent influences, to the end that not 

* See the charming Sonnet Hi.: 
" Guido vorrei che tu, e Lappo, ed io." 



212 



only those who might actually behold her, 
but also others, might know of her what- 
ever words could tell. Then I wrote this 
sonnet : 

" So gentle and so modest doth appear 
My ludy when she givcth her salute, 
That every tongue becometh trembling 

mute, 
Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare. 

" And though she hears her praises, she doth 

go 

Benignly clothed with humility, 
And like a thing come down she seems 

to be 

* From heaven to earth, a miracle to show. 
" So pleaseth she whoever coineth nigh, 

She gives the heart a sweetness through 

the eyes, 
Which none can understand who doth 

not prove. 

" And from her lip there seems indeed to move 
A spirit sweet and in Love's very guise, 
Which goeth saying to the soul, ' Ah, 
sigh!"'* 

* Perhaps the spirit of the latter part of 



The Philter. [February, 

With this incomparable sonnet we close 
that part of the " Vita Nuova " which re- 
lates to the life of Beatrice. It fitly com- 
pletes the golden record of youth. Its 
tender lines are the epitaph of happy 
days, and in them is found that mingled 
sweetness and sadness which in this world 
are always the final expression of love. Its 
tone is that of the wind of autumn sigh- 
ing among the leaves of spring. Beneath 
its outward meaning lies a prophecy of 
joy, but that joy is to be reached only 
through the gates of death. 

this sonnet may be better conveyed by ren- 
dering thus : 

" So pleaseth she all those approaching nigh 
her, 

Which goeth saying to the soul, ' Aspire! ' " 



vi. and 



Compare the very beautiful Ballata 
Sonnet xlviii., beginning, 

" Di donne io vidi una gentile schiera." 



THE PHILTER. 



" A DRAUGHT of water, maiden fair," 

I said to the girl beside the well. 
Oh, sweet was the smile on her face of guile, 

As she gave me to drink, that witch of hell I 

I drank, and sweet was the draught I drank, 
And thanked the giver, and still she smiled ; 

And her smile like a curse on my spirit sank, 
Till my face grew wan, and my heart grew wild. 

And lo ! the light from the day was gone, 
And gone was maiden, and gone was well : 

The dark instead, like a wall of stone, 

And rivers that roared through the dark, and fell. 

Was it the draught, or was it the smile, 

Or my own false heart ? Ah, who shall tell ? 

But the black waves beat at my weary feet, 
And sits at my side the witch of hell. 



1859.] 



Did n 



213 



DID I? 



1 Oiorno d' orrore." 



WHEELS rolled away in the distance ; 
the corner of a gray cloak fluttered where 
the drive turns down hill. From under 
the fore-wheel of Juggernaut I struggled 
back to life with a great sob, that died 
before it sounded. I looked about the 
library for some staff to help me to my 
feet again. The porphyry vases were 
filled with gorgeous boughs, leaves of 
deep scarlet, speckled, flushed, gold- 
spotted, rimmed with green, dashed 
with orange, tawny and crimson, blood- 
sprinkled, faint clear amber; all hues 
and combinations of color rioted and 
revelled in the crowded clusters. To 
what hand but hers could so much 
beauty have gathered? to what eye but 
here did the magnificent secrets of Na- 
ture reveal themselves, so that out of a 
whole forest her careless straying hand 
should bring only its culminating glories, 
its most perfect results, whether of leaf or 
flower or fruit For in an urn of tint- 
less alabaster, that had lain centuries in 
the breathless dust and gloom of an 
Egyptian tomb, that hand had set a 
sheaf of gentians, every fringed cup 
blue as the wild river when a noon sky 
tints it, or as the vaulted azure of a June 
midnight on the edge of the Milky Way, 
a sheaf no Ceres owned, no foodfull 
garner coveted, but the satiating aliment 
of beauty, fresh as if God that hour had 
pronounced them good, and set his sign- 
manual upon each delicate tremulous 
petal, that might have been sapphire, 
save for its wistful translucence. And 
on the teapoy in the window stood two 
dainty baskets of clean willow, in which 
we had that day brought home chestnuts 
from the wood ; mine was full of nuts, 
but they were small and angular and 
worm-eaten, as the fruitage of a wet sea- 
son might well be ; hers scantily freight- 
ed, but every nut round, full, and glossy, 
perfect from its cruel husk, a specimen, 



a type of its kind. And on the handle 
of the basket hung a little kid glove. I 
looked at it closely; the tiny finger-tops 
and oval nails had left light creases on 
the delicate leather, and an indescribable 
perfume, in which violet predominated, 
drove away the vile animal scent that 
pervades such gloves. I flung it on the 
fire. 

All about the room lay books that were 
not of my culling, from the oak cases, 
whose every door stood ajar, novels 
innumerable, " The Arabian Nights," 
Vaughan's " Silex Scintillans," with a 
scarlet leaf laid in against " Peace," 
and " Tennyson " turned on its face at 
" Fatima," a heavy volume of French 
moral philosophy, a Methodist hymji- 
book, Sir Thomas Browne's " Hydrio- 
taphia," and a gilded red-bound history 
of " Five Little Pigs." 

I rang the bell, and ordered all the books 
to be gathered up and put into an old 
bookcase, long banished to a dark attic. 
I walked to the fire and leaned my head 
against the mantel. The embers were all 
dead ; in the gray ashes was the print 
of a little foot, whose arched instep had 
left no trace between the light track of 
the small heel and the deeper impression 
that the slender toe had left That foot- 
print told the secret of her airy motion, 
that step so akin to flight, that on an 
overhanging mountain-ledge I had more 
than once held my breath, looking to 
see her extended wings float over the 
silent tree-tops below, or longed to grasp 
her carelessly trailed shawl, that I might 
detain her upon earth. To me the track 
had yet another language. An hour 
before, as I stood there beside her, the 
bitter passion of a man solitary and 
desperate shaking every faculty before 
the level rays of her scornful eye, she 
had set her embroidered slipper in the 
ashes, and said, " Look ! I leave a print 



214 



Did If 



[February, 



there which the first breath of air shall 
dissipate ; all fire becomes ashes, and 
ashes blow away," and so left me. I 
stood before the fire, that had been, still 
looking at that foot-mark ; my brain was 
stunned and stupid, my heart beat slow 
and loud ; I knew nothing, I felt nothing, 
I was nothing. Presently a bell rang. 

The world is full of magicians, trans- 
formations, magnetic miracles, juggling, 
chemical astonishments, moral gymnas- 
tics, hypocrisies, lies of wonder, but 
what is so strange, so marvellous, so 
inexplicable, as the power of conven- 
tions ? One minute found me tempting 
the blackness of darkness, every idea 
astray and reeling, every emotion be- 
numbed ; the next, a bell rang, and I 
went to the tea-table, sat in my own 
place, answered my mother's questions, 
resumed the politenesses and habits of 
daily life, seemed to be myself to those 
who had known me always, ate, drank, 
jested, was a man, no more the trod- 
den ashes under a girl's foot, no longer 
the sport of a girl's cool eye, no slave, 
no writhing idolater under the car-wheel; 
and this lasted half an hour ! You have 
seen the horses of Pharaoh following 
the glittering sand-track of the Judaean 
host, walled in with curling beryl battle- 
ments, over whose crests the white sea- 
foam dares no more laugh and threat- 
en ? You know those curved necks cloth- 
ed with strength, the bent head whose 
nostrils flare with pride, the tossed and 
waving mane, the magnificent grace of 
the nervous shoulder, the great, intelli- 
gent, expectant eyes ? Suddenly the roar 
of waves at the farther shore ! Look at 
that head ! strong and quiet no more ; 
terror erects the quivering ears ; the nos- 
tril sinks and contracts with fear; the 
eye glares and glances from side to side, 
mad with prescient instinct ; the corded 
veins that twist forkedly from the lip up- 
ward swell to the utmost tension of the 
fine skin ; that sweeping mane rises in 
rough undulations, the forelock is tossed 
back, the shoulder grows rigid with hor- 
ror, the chest rises with a long indrawn 
breath of dismay. Horrible beyond all 



horrid sounds, the yell of a horse in mor- 
tal fear. Do you hear it? No, it is 
a picture, the picture of a moment be- 
tween one animal that sees the impend- 
ing fate, and another that has not yet 
caught it ; it is human that such mo- 
ments interpose between two oceans of 
agony, that man can momentarily con- 
trol the rush of a sea which the brute 
must yield to. So the sea rushed back. 
All night long, all the long night ! 
long as lifetimes are, measured with slow- 
dropping arteries that drip away living 
blood. Once I watched by a dying wom- 
an ; wild October rains poured without, 
but all unheard ; in the dim-lit room, 
scented with quaint odors of lackered 
cases and chests of camphor-wood, heavy 
with perfumes that failed to revive, and 
hushed with whispers of hopeless com- 
ment, that delicate frame and angelic 
face, which the innumerable lines of age 
could only exalt and sweeten, shivered 
with the frosts of death ; every breath 
was a sob ; every sigh, anguish ; the ter- 
rible restlessness of the struggle between 
soul and body in their parting writhed 
in every limb ;^ but there were no words 
other than broken cries of prayer, only 
half-heard on earth, till at length the 
tender, wistful eyes unclosed, and in a 
hoarse whisper, plaintive beyond expres- 
sion, full of a desolate and immortal 
weariness, bearing a conviction of eter- 
nity and exhaustion that words cannot 
hope to utter, she said, " Will it never be 
morning ? " And so this night stayed its 
pace ; my room grew narrow and low ; 
the ceiling pressed on my head ; the walls 
forever clasped me, yet receded ever as 
I paced the floor ; the floor fell in strange 
waves under me, yet I walked steadily, 
up and down, up and down ! Still the 
night stayed. Fever set its hurried puls- 
es fleeting like wild-fire through every 
vein ; a band of hot iron pressed above 
my eyes ; but these were adjuncts ; the 
curse consumed me within. In every 
moment I heard those calm and fatal 
words, "I do not love you," sounding 
clear and sweet through the dull leaden 
air of night, an air full of ghostly 



1859.] 



Did n 



215 



sounds, sighs about the casements, creak- 
ing stairs, taps at the window, light sounds 
of feet in the long hall below ; all falling 
heedless on my ear, for my ghost walked 
and talked with me, a ghastly reality, the 
galvanized corpse of a murdered life. 

Still the night stayed. A weight of lead 
pressed on my brain and concentrated it 
to frantic power; the months in which I 
had known her, the only months I could 
call life, came back to me inch by inch, 
grain by grain. I recalled our first meet- 
ing, the sudden springing into acquaint- 
ance, the sympathetic power that had 
transfused those cold blue eyes into depths 
of tenderness and pity, the gay and gen- 
ial manner that aroused and charmed me, 
the scornful lip that curled at the world 
for its worldliness, that fresh imagina- 
tion, which, like the spirit of frost, decked 
the commonest things with beauty ; and I 
recalled those early letters that had pass- 
ed between us, mine, insipid enough, 
hers, piquant, graphic, refined, tender, del- 
icately passionate, sparkling, full of lofty 
thought and profound feeling. Good God ! 
could she not have taken my heart, and 
wrung it, and thrown it away, under 
some more commonplace pretext than 
the profaned name of Friendship ? Her 
friend ! It is true I had called myself 
her friend ; I had been strenuous in the 
nomenclature to quiet my own conscience, 
to satisfy her conventional scruples; 
but had she no instinct to interpret the 
pretence ? What friend ever lived on 
every look, studied every phrase, watched 
every action and expression, was so torn 
with jealousy and racked with doubt, bore 
so humbly with caprices, and forgave 
every offence so instantly and utterly, 
nay, was scarce conscious that anything 
her soul entertained could be an offence, 
could be wrong ? Friendship ! ah, that 
deity is calm and serene ; that firm lip 
and pale cheek do not flush with ap- 
prehension or quiver with passion ; that 
tranquil eye does not shine with anything 
but quiet tears. Rather call the dusky 
and dark-haired Twilight, whose pensive 
face is limned against the western hills, 
by the name of that fierce and fervid 



Noon that stands erect under the hot 
zenith, instinct with the red blood of a 
thousand summers, casting her glittering 
tresses abroad upon the south-wind, and 
holding in her hands the all-unfolded rose 
of life. And if I was only her friend, 
was that a reason why she should permit 
in me the thousand intimacies of look and 
caress that are the novitiate of love ? 
Was it a friend's calm duty to give me 
her tiny hand to hold in mine, that I might 
fold and unfold the rosy fingers, and ex- 
plore the white dimples that were its or- 
namenting gems, to rest her tired head 
against my shoulder, even, watching all 
day by the chair where pain, life-long 
ministrant, held me on the x rack? was it 
only friendly that she should press her 
soft little mouth to mine, and soothe me 
into quiet as a mother soothes her last, 
her dearest child ? No ! no ! no ! never 
could that be ! She knew, she had known, 
that I loved her ! Deliberate cruelty out- 
lined those lovely lips ; every statue-like 
moulding of that proud face told the hard 
and unrelenting nature of the soul within. 
God forgive her ! the exclamation es- 
caped me unaware, and recoiled in a 
savage exultation that such treachery 
had no forgiveness in heaven or on earth, 
one gleam of desperate satisfaction in 
that black night. But in its light, what 
new madness seized me ? I had held 
her stainless and holy, intact of evil or 
deceit ; what was she now ? My whole 
brain reeled ; the foundations were taken 
away ; earth and heaven met ; even as 
when the West forges tempest and light- 
ning-bolts upon its melancholy hills, brood- 
ing ami muttering hour by hour, till at 
length the livid gloom rushes upward 
against sun and stars, and the blackening 
sky shuts down upon the blackened earth, 
cowering at the shock, and the torrenta 
and flames are let loose upon their prey, 
so an accumulated storm of unutter- 
able agony flung wave on wave above 
me, wrecked and alone. 

Still the night stayed; the black mass 
of forest that swept up the hill-side stood 
in mystical gloom, in silence that could 
be felt ; when at once, not suddenly, 



216 



Did n 



[February, 



as if the night could forbear no more, 
but must utter some chord with the cul- 
mination of midnight horrors, a bird ut- 
tered one sharp cry, desolate utterly, 
hopeless, concentred, as if a keen blade 
parted its heart and the outraged life 
within remonstrated and despaired,, de- 
spaired not of life, for still the note re- 
peated its monotone, but of death, of 
period to its pangs. That cry entered 
into my brain ; it was unjust of Nature 
so to taunt me, so to express where I was 
speechless ; yet I could not shut it out. 
A pitiful chill of flesh and sense seized 
me ; I was cold, oh, how cold ! the 
fevered veins crept now in sluggish ice ; 
sharp thrills of shivering rigor racked me 
from head to foot ; pain had dulled its 
own capacity ; wrapped in every cover- 
Lug my room afforded, with blunted per- 
ceptions, and a dreadful consciousness of 
lost vitality, which, even when I Jonged 
to die, appalled me with the touch of 
death's likeness, I sunk on the floor, 
and it was morning ! 

Morning ! " a day of darkness and of 
gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick 
darkness, as the morning spread upon the 
mountains ! " A pale sun lit the earth, 
but earth and sky were black, no sun 
touched me in heart or eye ; I saw noth- 
ing, felt nothing, but heavy and impene- 
trable gloom. Yet again the ceremonies 
of life prevailed, and my real life slept 
undiscovered. Whatever pallor or shadow 
lined my face was no stranger there at 
that hour. The gray morning passed 
away ; the village on the hill sent down 
busy sounds of labor and cheer; flies 
buzzed on the sunny pane, doors clicked 
and slammed in the house, fires crackled 
behind the shining fire-dogs. I went to 
the library, the frst breath of air had 
dissipated it ! What a mockery ! I went 
away, out of the house, on, anywhere. 
Dry leaves rustled in my path and sent 
up a faint aromatic breath as they were 
crushed in the undried dew; squirrels 
chattered in the wood ; here and there a 
dropping nut stirred the silence with de- 
liberate fall, or an unseen grouse whirred 
through the birches at my approaching 



step. The way was trodden and led 
me by gradual slope and native windings 
through the dull red oaks downward to 
the river. Once on the path, a low clus- 
ter of sweet fern attracted me ; strange 
assertion of human personality, that in 
the deepest grief a man knows and no- 
tices the trivial features of Nature with 
microscopic fidelity ! that the veining of 
a leaf or the pencilling of a blossom will 
attract the eye that no majesty or beauty 
of unwonted manifestation could light 
with one appreciative spark ! Is it that 
the injured and indignant soul so vindi- 
cates its own essential and divine strength, 
and says, unconsciously, to the most un- 
controlled anguish, " There is in me a 
life no mortal accident can invade ; the 
breath of God is not altogether extinct in 
any blast of man's devising ; shake, tor- 
ture, assault the outer tenement, darken 
its avenues with fire to stifle, and drench 
its approaches with seas to drown, there 
is that within that God alone can van- 
quish, yours is but a finite terror"? 
Half-crazed as I was, the fern-bed at- 
tracted me, as I said, and I flung myself 
wearily down on the leaves, whose heal- 
ing and soothing odor stole up like a cloud 
all about me ; and I lay there in the 
sun, noting with pertinacious accuracy 
every leaf or bloom that was within the 
range of sight, the dark green leaves of 
the wax-flower springing from their red 
stem, veined and threaded with creamy 
white, stiff and quaint in form and 
growth, the bending sprays of golden- 
rod that bowed their light and brittle 
stems over me, swaying gently to and fro 
in the gentle wind, the tiny scarlet cups 
of moss that held a little drop of dew 
brimming over their rims of fire, a spark 
in the ashy gray moss-beds where they 
stood, the shrinking and wan wood- 
asters, branched out widely, but set with 
meagre bloom, every half-tint of the 
lichens, that scantily fed from the relent- 
less granite rock, yet clung to its stern 
face with fearless persistence, the rough 
seams and velvet green moss-tufts of the 
oak-trunks, the light that pierced the 
dingy hue of oak-leaves with vivid and 



1859.] 



Did If 



217 



informing crimson : all these stamped 
themselves on my mind with inevitable 
minuteness ; the great wheel of Fate 
rolled over me, and I bore the marks 
even of its ornamental rim ; the grooves 
in its tire left traces of its track. 

At length the minuteness of Nature 
oppressed me. The thousand odors, spi- 
cy, acrid, aromatic, honeyed, that an au- 
tumnal dew expressed from every herb, 
through that sense that is the slave of 
association, recalled my youth, my boy- 
hood, the free and careless hours I knew 
no more, when, on just such mornings of 
hazy and splendid autumns, I had just 
so lain on the fern-beds, heedless of every 
beauty that haunted the woods, full of 
fresh life, rejoicing in dog and gun and 
rod as no man ever rejoices in title- 
deeds or stocks or hoarded gold. The 
reminiscence stung me to the quick ; I 
could endure no more. Rising, I went on, 
and through the oak-wood came to the 
brink of the river, and in a vague weari- 
ness sat down upon the massive water- 
wall, and looked over into the dark brown 
stream. It was deep below me ; a little 
above were clear shallows, where the wa- 
ter-spider pursued its toil of no result, 
and cast upon the yellow sand beneath a 
shadow that was not a shadow, but, re- 
fracted from the broken surface, spots of 
glittering light, clustered like the dia- 
monds of a brooch, separate, yet linked, 
and tremulously bright. This, also, did I 
note ; but below my feet the river flowed 
darker and more deeply, darkness and 
depth broken only by the glancing fins 
of little fishes, that slanted downward, 
catching a gleam as they went. No other 
light pierced the sullen, apprehensive flood 
that rolled past in tranquil gloom, leaden 
from the skies above, and without ripple 
or fall to break its glassy quiet. Beside 
the wall grew a witch-hazel ; in my vague 
grasp at outside objects I saw it, full of 
wrinkled and weird bloom, as if the gold- 
en fleece had strayed thereby, and caught 
upon the ungainly twigs of the scragged 
bush, and lel't glittering curled threads 
in flecked bunches scattered on every 
branch ; the strange spell-sweet odor of 

VOL. III. 14 



the flowers struck me before I saw them, 
and the whole expression of their growth 
affected me with helpless admiration, so 
brave as it was ! defying all Autumn to 
daunt the immortal Spring ever surviv- 
ing in its soul, here, on October's edge, 
putting out its freshness and perfume, as 
if seasons were an accident, and circum- 
stance a chimera, as if will, good-will, 
will to be of strength and cheer, were 
potent enough to laugh at Nature, and 
trust the God-given consciousness with- 
in, whatever adverse fate ruled and tri- 
umphed without. Not that all these ideas 
came to me then, else perhaps I had 
been spared that morning's experience ; 
but they entered my brain as lightning is 
sometimes said to enter a tree and stamp 
some image from without upon its heart, 
thereafter to be revealed by the hewing 
axe and the persistent saw. No ! I sat 
by the river and looked down into its 
dark serenity, and again the horror of the 
past day swept over me with fresh force. 
Could I live ? The unswerving river 
lay before me ; in its bed nothing stirred; 
neither pang nor passion in those chill 
depths could utter a cry ; there she could 
not come ; there was rest. I did not 
yield ; oh, no, I did not yield ! I resisted, 
passively. I laid hold upon the eternal 
fact that there was a God ; the blind and 
blank universe spun about me ; its pillars 
of support wavered like waterspouts; all 
that I had ever believed or loved whirled 
up and down in one howling chaos, and 
circled through all space in clouds of 
dust and floating atoms ; but through 
all I knew there was a God, feel it I 
could not, neither did I see nor did one 
of Nature's tongues spell me the lesson, 
I only knew it. And I did not, no, I 
did not rush before Him ; but I lay at 
the bottom of the river. 

I have heard it said that drowning per- 
sons recall, as by a sudden omniscience, 
all their past lives, as soon as the water 
closes above them and the first shock of 
horror is past. Jt was not so with me. 
I remembered nothing beyond the events 
of the past week ; but, by some strange 
action of the mind, as soon as the gasp- 



218 



ing sense of an unnatural element passed 
away, my thoughts went forward. 1 be- 
came, as it were, another man ; and above 
me on the bank I saw calmly the stone 
where my living double had left his crip- 
ple's cane, and thought to myself for one 
sharp moment, " Fool ! " for I looked 
forward. If I had not drowned, that 
was the key-note of the theme. Some- 
thing that was me and was not me rose 
up from the water-wall and went away, 
a man racked and broken by a great 
sorrow, it is true, but a man conscious of 
God. Life had turned its darkest page 
for him, but there was the impassable fact 
that it was the darkest ; no further depths 
remained to dread ; the worst had come, 
and he looked it in the face and studied 
it ; suffer he might, but with full knowl- 
edge of every agony. Life had been 
wrecked, but living remained. Calmly 
he took up the cripple's cane and went 
home ; the birds sang no song, after 
tempests they do not sing until the sun 
shines, neither did the blossoms give 
him any greeting. Nature wastes no 
trivialities on such grief; the mother, 
whose child comes in to her broken- 
limbed and wounded, does not give it 
sugar-plums and kisses, but waits in si- 
lence till the surgeon has done his kind- 
ly and appalling office, then, it may be, 
she sings her boy to sleep ! 

But this man took up life again and 
conquered it. Home grew about him 
into serenity and cheer ; as from the 
roots of a felled tree a thousand verdant 
offshoots spring, tiny in stature, but fresh 
and vivid in foliage, so out of this be- 
headed love arose a crowd of sweet af- 
fections and tender services that made 
the fraternity of man seem possible, and 
illustrated the pervasive care of God. 
He went out into life, and from a 
heart wrung with all man can endure, 
and a brain tested in the fire, spoke 
burning and fluent words of strength and 
consolation to hundreds who, like him, 
had suffered, but were sinking under 
what he had borne. And these words 
carried in them a reviving virtue. Men 
btessed him silently, and women sang 



Did /? [February, 

him in their hearts as they sing hymns of 
prayer. Honors clustered about him as 
mosses to a rock ; Fame relented, and 
gave him an aureole in place of a crown ; 
and Love, late, but sweeter than sweet, 
like the last sun-ripened fruit of autumn, 
made honors and fame alike endurable. 
This man conquered, and triumphed in 
the victory. 

I held out my hand in that water and 
touched a skeleton ! What ! had any 
other man preceded me ? I looked at 
it ; it was the water-washed frame of a 
horse, brutes together ! And death was 
at hand ; the grasp tightened on my 
breast with that acrid sense.of -weight and 
suffocation that the redundant blood suf- 
fusing the lungs must needs produce. 
" The soul of the brute goeth downward." 
Coward ! what might not life have been ? 
and I had lost it! lost it for the sting 
of a honey-bee ! for the contempt of a 
woman ! Every magnificent possibility, 
every immortal power, every hope of a 
future, tantalizing in its grand mystery, 
all lost ! What if that sweeping star- 
seraph that men call a comet, speeding 
through heaven in its lonely splendor, 
with nitent head, and pinions trailing 
with the very swiftness and strength of 
its onward flight, should shudder from its 
orbit, fling into star-strewn space its calm 
and awful glory, and go crashing down 
into the fury and blackness of chaos, car- 
rying with it wrecks of horror, and the 
yelling fragments of spheres no longer 
choral, but smitten with the lawless stroke 
of a creature regardless of its Creator, 
an orb that made its solitary fate, and 
carried across the order and the law of 
God ruin and wreck embodied ? 

And I had a soul ; I had flung it away ; 
I had set my will up for my destiny, and 
the one had worked out the other. But 
had 1 ? When that devilish suggestion 
came to me on the bank, did I entertain 
it ? Have I not said how 1 grasped at 
the great idea of a God, and held it with 
a death-gripe in the midst of assault ? 
How did I come in the water V I did 
not plunge nor fall. No shock of horror 
chilled me ; no remembrance of a volun- 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



tary assent to the Tempter could I recall. 
I was there, it was true ; but was I guilty ? 
Did I, in the eyes of any watching angel, 
consciously cast my life, brittle and blind 
as it was, away in that fashion ? In the 
water, helpless now for any effort after 
upper air, side by side with the fleshless 
anatomy of a brute, over-sailed by gray 
fishes with speckled sides, whose broad, 



unwinking eyes glared at me with mad- 
dening shine and stare, oppressed, and 
almost struggling, yet all unable to achieve 
the struggle with the curdling blood that 
gorged every vein and air-cell with the 
hurried rush of death, did I go out of 
this life red with the sin of murder ? 
Did I commit suicide ? 
Who knows ? 



TrfE MINISTERS WOOING. 



[Continued.] 



CHAPTER VI. 
THE DOCTOR. 

IT is seldom that man and woman come 
v tgether in intimate association, unless in- 
taiences are at work more subtile and mys- 
terious than the subjects of them dream. 
Even in cases where the strongest ruling 
force of the two sexes seems out of the 
question, there is still something peculiar 
and insidious in their relationship. A 
fatherly old gentleman, who undertakes 
the care of a sprightly young girl, finds, 
to his astonishment, that little Miss spins 
all sorts of cobwebs round him. Grave 
professors and teachers cannot give les- 
sons to their female pupils just as they 
give them to the coarser sex, and more 
than once has the fable of " Cadenus and 
Vanessa" been acted over by the most 
unlikely performers. 

The Doctor was a philosopher, a met- 
aphysician, a philanthropist, and in the 
highest and most earnest sense a minis- 
ter of good on earth. The New England 
clergy had no sentimental affectation of 
sanctity that segregated them from whole- 
some human relations ; and consequently 
our good Doctor had always resolved, in 
a grave and thoughtful spirit, at a suitable 
time in his worldly affairs, to choose unto 
himself a helpmeet Love, as treated of 
in romances, he held to be a foolish and 
profane matter, unworthy the attention of 



a serious" and reasonable creature.* All 
the language of poetry on this subject was 
to him an unknown tongue. He contem- 
plated the entrance on married life some- 
what in this wise : That at a time and 
place suiting, he should look out unto him- 
self a woman of a pleasant countenance 
and of good repute, a zealous, earnest 
Christian, and well skilled in the items of 
household management, whom accosting 
as a stranger and pilgrim to a better life, 
he should loyally and lovingly entreat, as 
Isaac did Rebekah, to come under the 
shadow of his tent and be a helpmeet un- 
to him in what yet remained of this mor- 
tal journey. But straitened circumstances, 
and the unsettled times of the Revolution, 
in which he had taken an earnest and 
zealous part, had delayed to a late bach- 
elorhood the fulfilment of this resolution. 

When once received under the shadow 
of Mrs. Scudder's roof, and within the 
provident sphere of her unfailing house- 
keeping, all material necessity for an im- 
mediate choice was taken away ; for he 
was exactly in that situation dearest to 
every scholarly and thoughtful man, in 
which all that pertained to the outward 
life appeared to rise under his hand at 
the moment he wished for it without his 
knowing how or why. 

He was not at the head of a prosper- 
ous church and society, rich and well-to- 
do in the world, but, as the pioneer lead- 



220 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[February, 



er of a new theology, in a country where 
theology was the all-absorbing interest, 
he had to breast the reaction that ever at- 
tends the advent of new ideas. His pul- 
pit talents, too, were unattractive. His 
early training had been all logical, not 
in the least aesthetic ; for, like the minis- 
try of his country generally, he had been 
trained always to think more of what he 
should say than of how he should say it. 
Consequently, his style, though not with- 
out a certain massive greatness, which al- 
ways comes from largeness of nature, had 
none of those attractions by which the 
common masses are beguiled into think- 
ing. He gave only the results of thought, 
not its incipient processes ; and the con- 
sequence was, that few could follow him. 
In like manner, his religious teachings 
were characterized by an ideality so high 
as quite to discourage ordinary virtue. 

There is a ladder to heaven, whose 
base God has placed in human affec- 
tions, tender instincts, symbolic feelings, 
sacraments of love, through which the 
soul rises higher and higher, refining as 
she goes, till she outgrows the human, 
and changes, as she rises, into the image 
of the divine. At the very top of this 
ladder, at the threshold of paradise, blaz- 
es dazzling and crystalline that celestial 
grade where the soul knows self no more, 
having learned, through a long experience 
of devotion, how blest it is to lose herself 
in that eternal Love and Beauty of which 
all earthly fairness and grandeur are but 
the dim type, the distant shadow. This 
highest step, this saintly elevation, which 
but few selectest spirits ever on earth at- 
tain, to raise the soul to which the Eter- 
nal Father organized every relation of 
human existence and strung every chord 
of human love, for which this world is 
one long discipline, for which the soul's 
human education is constantly varied, for 
which it is now torn by sorrow, now flood- 
ed by joy, to which all its multiplied pow- 
ers tend with upward hands of dumb and 
ignorant aspiration, this Ultima Thule of 
virtue had been seized upon by our sage 
as the all of religion. He knocked out 
every round of the ladder but the highest, 



and then, pointing to its hopeless splen- 
dor, said to the world, " Go up thither 
and be saved ! " 

Short of that absolute self-abnegation, 
that unconditional surrender to the Infi- 
nite, there was nothing meritorious, be- 
cause, if that were commanded, every mo- 
ment of refusal was rebellion. Every 
prayer, not based on such consecration, 
he held to be an insult to the Divine 
Majesty ; the reading of the Word, the 
conscientious conduct of life, the per- 
formance of the duties of man to man, 
being, without this, the deeds of a crea- 
ture in conscious rebellion to its Eternal 
Sovereign, were all vitiated and made' 
void. Nothing was to be preached to the 
sinner, but his ability and obligation to 
rise immediately to this height. 

It is not wonderful that teaching of this 
sort should seem to many unendurable, 
and that the multitude should desert the 
preacher with the cry, " This is an hard 
saying ; who can hear it ? " The young 
and gay were wearied by the dryness of 
metaphysical discussions which to them 
were as unintelligible as a statement of 
the last results of the mathematician to 
the child commencing the multiplication- 
table. There remained around him only 
a select circle, shrewd, hard thinkers, 
who delighted in metaphysical subtilties, 
deep-hearted, devoted natures, who 
sympathized with the unworldly purity 
of his life, his active philanthropy and 
untiring benevolence, courageous men, 
who admired his independence of thought 
and freedom in breasting received opin- 
ion, and those unperceiving, dull, good 
people who are content to go to church 
anywhere as convenience and circum- 
stance may drift them, people who serve, 
among the keen feeling and thinking por- 
tion of the world, much the same pur- 
pose as adipose matter in the human sys- 
tem, as a soft cushion between the nerves 
of feeling and the muscles of activity. 

There was something affecting in the 
pertinacity with which the good Doctor 
persevered in saying his say to his dis- 
couraging minority of hearers. His sal- 
ary was small ; his meeting-house, dam- 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



221 



aged during the Revolutionary struggle, 
wa* dilapidated and forlorn, fireless in 
winter, and in summer admitting a flood 
of sun and dust through those great win- 
dows which formed so principal a feature 
in those first efforts of Puritan architecture. 

Still, grand in his humility, he preached 
on, and as a soldier never asks why, 
but stands at apparently the most useless 
post, so he went on from Sunday to Sun- 
day, comforting himself with the reflec- 
tion that no one could think more mean- 
ly of his ministrations than he did himself. 
" I am like Moses only in not being elo- 
quent," he said, in his simplicity. " My 
preaching is barren and dull, my voice 
is hard and harsh ; but then the Lord is 
a Sovereign, and may work through me. 
He fed Elijah once through a raven, and 
he may feed some poor wandering soul 
through me." 

The only mistake made by the good 
man was that of supposing that the elab- 
oration of theology was preaching the 
gospel. The gospel he was preaching 
constantly, by his pure, unworldly living, 
by his visitations to homes of poverty and 
sorrow, by his searching out of the low- 
ly African slaves, his teaching of those 
whom no one else in those days had 
thought of teaching, and by the grand 
humanity, outrunning his age, in which 
he protested against the then admitted 
system of slavery and the slave-trade. 
But when, rising in the pulpit, he followed 
trains of thought suited only to the desk 
of the theological lecture-room, he did it 
blindly, following that law of self-devel- 
opment by which minds of a certain 
amount of fervor must utter what is in 
them, whether men will hear or whether 
they will forbear. 

But the place where our Doctor was 
happiest was his study. There he ex- 
plored, and wandered, and read, and 
thought, and lived a life as wholly ideal 
and intellectual as heart could conceive. 

And could Love enter a reverend doc- 
tor's study, and find hi> way into a heart 
empty and swept of all those shreds of 
poetry and romance in which he usually 
finds the material of his incantations ? 



Even so; but he came so thoughtfully, so 
reverently, with so wise and cautious a 
footfall, that the good Doctor never even 
raised his spectacles to see who was there. 
The first that he knew, poor man, he was 
breathing an air of strange and subtile 
sweetness, from what paradise he never 
stopped his studies to inquire. He was 
like a great, rugged elm, with all its 
lacings and archings of boughs and twigs, 
which has stood cold and frozen against 
the metallic blue of winter sky, forgetful 
of leaves, and patient in its bareness, 
calmly content in its naked strength and 
crystalline definiteness of outline. But 
in April there is a rising and stirring 
within the grand old monster, a whisper- 
ing of knotted buds, a mounting of sap 
coursing ethereally from bough to bough 
with a warm and gentle life ; and though 
the old elm knows it not, a new creation 
is at hand. Just so, ever since the good 
man had lived at Mrs. Scudder's, and had 
the gentle Mary for his catechumen, a 
richer life seemed to have colored his 
thoughts, his mind seemed to work with 
a pleasure as never before. 

Whoever looked on the forehead of 
the good Doctor must have seen the 
squareness of ideality giving marked ef- 
fect to its outline. As yet ideality had 
dealt only with the intellectual and in- 
visible, leading to subtile refinements of 
argument and exalted ideas of morals. 
But there was lying in him, crude and 
unworkcd, a whole mine of those artis- 
tic feelings and perceptions which are 
awakened and developed only by the 
touch of beauty. Had he been born be- 
neath the shadow of the great Duomo of 
Florence, where Giotto's Campanile rises 
like the slender stalk of a celestial lily, 
whore varied marbles and rainbow-glass 
and gorgeous paintings and lofty statuary 
rail forth, even from childhood, the soul's 
reminiscences of the bygone glories of its 
pristine state, his would have been a soul 
as rounded and full in its sphere of facul- 
ties as that of Da Vinci or Michel Angelo. 
But of all that he was as ignorant as a 
child ; and the first revelation of his dor- 
mant nature was to come to him through 



222 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[February, 



the face of woman, that work of the 
Mighty Master which is to be found in 
all lands and ages. 

AY hat makes the love of a great mind 
something fearful in its inception is that 
it is often the unsealing of a hitherto un- 
developed portion of a large and power- 
ful being ; the woman may or may not 
seem to other eyes adequate to the effect 
produced, but the man cannot forget her, 
because with her came a change which 
makes him forever a different being. So 
it was with our friend. A woman it was 
that was destined to awaken in him all 
that consciousness which music, painting, 
poetry awaken in more evenly developed 
minds ; and it is the silent breathing of 
her creative presence that is even now 
creating him anew, while as yet he knows 
it not. 

He never thought, this good old soul, 
whether Mary were beautiful or not ; he 
never even knew that he looked at her; 
nor did he know why it was that the 
truths of his theology, when uttered by 
her tongue, had such a wondrous beauty 
as he never felt before. He did not 
know why it was, that, when she silently 
sat by him, copying tangled manuscript 
for the press, as she sometimes did, his 
\vhole study seemed so full of some divine 
influence, as if, like St. Dorothea, she had 
worn in her bosom, invisibly, the celestial 
roses of paradise. He recorded honestly 
in his diary what marvellous freshness of 
spirit the Lord had given him, and how 
he seemed to be uplifted in his comniun- 
ings with heaven, without once thinking 
from the robes of what angel this sweet- 
ness had exhaled. 

On Sundays, when he saw good Mrs. 
Jones asleep, and . Simon Brown's hard, 
sharp eyes, and Deacon Twitchel mourn- 
fully rocking to and fro, and his wife hand- 
ing fennel to keep the children awake, 
his eye glanced across to the front gal- 
lery, where one earnest young face, ever 
kindling with feeling and bright with in- 
tellect, followed on his way, and he felt up- 
lifted and comforted. On Sunday morn- 
ings, when Mary came out of her little 
room, in clean white dress, with her sing- 



ing-book and psalm-book in her hands, 
her deep eyes solemn from recent pray- 
er, he thought of that fair and mystical 
bride, the Lamb's wife, whose union with 
her Divine Redeemer in a future millen- 
nial age was a frequent and favorite sub- 
ject of his musings ; yet he knew not that 
this celestial bride, clothed in iine linen, 
clean and white, veiled in humility and 
meekness, bore in his mind those earthly 
features. No, he never had dreamed of 
that ! But only after she had passed by, 
that mystical vision seemed to him more 
radiant, more easy to be conceived. 

It is said, that, if a grape-vine be 
planted in the neighborhood of a well, 
its roots, running silently underground, 
wreathe themselves in a net-work around 
the cold, clear waters, and the vine's put- 
ting on outward greenness and unwonted 
clusters and fruit is all that tells where 
every root and fibre of its being has been 
silently stealing. So those loves are most 
fatal, most absorbing, in which, with un- 
heeded quietness, every thought and fibre 
of our life twines gradually around some 
human soul, to us the unsuspected well- 
spring of our being. Fearful it is, be- 
cause so often the vine must be uprooted, 
and all its -fibres wrenched away; but 
till the hour of discovery comes, how is 
it transfigured by a new and beautiful 
life! 

There is nothing in life more beautiful 
than that trancelike quiet dawn which 
precedes the rising of love in the soul. 
When the whole being is pervaded im- 
perceptibly and tranquilly by another be- 
ing, and we are happy, we know not and 
ask not why, the soul is then receiving 
all and asking nothing. At a later day 
she becomes self-conscious, and then come 
craving exactions, endless questions, the 
whole world of the material comes in with 
its hard counsels and consultations, and 
the beautiful prance fades forever. 

Of course, all this is not so to ?/?*, 
my good friends, who read it without the 
most distant idea what it can mean ; but 
there are people in the world to whom it 
has meant and will mean much, and who 
will see in the present happiness of our 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



223 






respectable friend something even omi- 
nous and sorrowful. 

It had not escaped the keen eye of the 
mother how quickly and innocently the 
good Doctor was absorbed by her daugh- 
ter, and thereupon had come long trains 
of practical reflections. 

The Doctor, though not popular indeed 
as a preacher, was a noted man in his 
age. Her deceased husband had re- 
garded him with something of the same 
veneration which might have been ac- 
corded to a divine messenger, and Mrs. 
Sc udder had received and kept this 
veneration as a preeious legacy. Then, 
although not handsome, the Doctor had 
decidedly a grand and imposing appear- 
ance. There was nothing common or 
insignificant about him. Indeed, it had 
been said, that, when, just after the dec- 
laration of peace, he walked through the 
town in the commemorative procession 
side by side with General Washington, 
the minister, in the majesty of his gown, 
bands, cocked hat, and full flowing wig, 
was thought by many to be the more ma- 
jestic and personable figure of the two. 

In those days, the minister united in 
himself all those ideas of superior posi- 
tion and cultivation with which the theo- 
cratic system of the New England com- 
munity had invested him. Mrs. Scud- 
der's notions of social rank could reach 
no higher than to place her daughter on 
the throne of such preeminence. 

Her Mary, she pondered, was no com- 
mon girl. In those days, it was a rare 
thing for young persons to devote them- 
selves to religion or make any professions 
of devout life. The church, or that body 
of people who professed to have passed 
through a divine regeneration, was al- 
most entirely confined to middle-aged 
and elderly people, and it was looked 
upon as a singular and unwonted call of 
divine grace when young persons came 
forward to attach themselves to it. When 
Mary, therefore, at quite an early age, 
in all the bloom of her youthful beauty, 
arose, according to the simple and im- 
pressive New England rite, to consecrate 
herself publicly to a religious life, and 



to join the company of professing Chris- 
tians, she was regarded with a species of 
deference amounting even to awe. Had 
it not been for the childlike, unconscious 
simplicity of her manners, the young 
people of her age would have shrunk 
away from her, as from one entirely out 
of their line of thought and feeling ; but 
a certain natural and innocent playful- 
ness and amiable self-forgetfulness made 
her a general favorite. 

Nevertheless, Mrs. Scudder knew no 
young man whom she deemed worthy to 
have and hold a heart which she prized 
so highly. As to James, he stood at 
'double disadvantage, because, as her cous- 
in's son, he had grown up from child- 
hood under her eye, and\ all those sins 
and iniquities into which gay and adven- 
turous youngsters will be falling had come 
to her knowledge. She felt kindly to the 
youth ; she wished him well ; but as to 
giving him her Mary ! the very sugges- 
tion made her dislike him. She was 
quite sure he must have tried to beguile 
her, he must have tampered with her 
feelings, to arouse in her pure and well- 
ordered mind so much emotion and devo- 
tedness as she had witnessed. 

How encouraging a Providence, then, 
was it that he was gone to sea for three 
years ! how fortunate that Mary had 
been prevented in any way from com- 
mitting herself with him ! how encourag- 
ing that the only man in those parts, in 
the least fitted to appreciate her, seemed 
so greatly pleased and absorbed in her so- 
ciety ! how easily might Mary's dutiful 
reverence be changed to a warmer sen- 
timent, when she should find that so 
great a man could descend from hb lofty 
thoughts to think of her ! 

In fact, before Mrs. Scudder had gone 
to sleep the first night after James's de- 
parture, she had settled upon the house 
where the minister and his young wife 
were to live, had reviewed the window- 
curtains and bed-quilts for each room, 
and glanced complacently at an improv- 
ed receipt for wedding-cake which might 
be brought out to glorify a certain occa- 
sion ! 



224 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[February, 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE FRIENDS AND RELATIONS OF 
JAMES. 

MR. ZEBEntiE MARVYX, the father of 
James, was the sample of an individual- 
ity so purely the result of New England 
society and education, that he must be 
embodied in our story as a representative 
man of the times. 

He owned a large farm in the imme- 
diate vicinity of Newport, which he work- 
ed with his own hands and kept under the 
most careful cultivation. He was a man 
past the middle of life, with a white head, 
a keen blue eye, and a face graven deep-' 
ly with the lines of energy and thought. 
His was one of those clearly-cut minds 
which New England forms among her 
fanners, as she forms quartz crystals in 
her mountains, by a sort of gradual influ- 
ence flowing through every pore of her 
soil and system. 

His education, properly so called, had 
been merely that of those common schools 
and academies with which the States are 
thickly sown, and which are the springs 
of so much intellectual activity. Here 
he had learned to think and to inquire, 
a process which had not ceased with 
his school-days. Though toiling daily 
with his sons and hired man in all the 
minutije of a farmer's life, he kept an 
observant eye on the field of literature, 
and there was not a new publication 
heard of that he did not immediately 
find means to add it to his yearly increas- 
ing stock of books. In particular was he 
a well-read and careful theologian, and 
all the controversial tracts, sermons, and 
books, with which then, as ever since, 
New England has abounded, not only 
lay on his shelves, but had his pencilled 
annotations, queries, and comments thick- 
ly scattered along their margins. There 
was scarce an office of public trust which 
had not at one time or another been filled 
by him. He was deacon of the church, 
chairman of the school-committee, justice 
of the peace, had been twice representa- 
tive in the State legislature, and was in 
permanence a sort of adviser-general in 



all cases between neighbor and neighbor. 
Among other acquisitions, he had gained 
some knowledge of the general forms of 
law, and his advice was often asked in 
preference to that of the regular practi- 
tioners. 

His dwelling was one of those large, 
square, white, green-blinded mansions, 
cool, clean, and roomy, wherein the re- 
spectability of New England in those 
days rejoiced. The windows were shaded 
by clumps of lilacs ; the deep yard with 
its white fence inclosed a sweep of clean, 
short grass, and a few fruit-trees. Oppo- 
site the house was a small blacksmith's- 
shed, which, of a wet day, was sparkling 
and lively Avith bellows and ringing forge, 
while Mr. Zebedee and his sons were 
hammering and pounding and putting in 
order anything that was out of the way 
in farming-tools or establishments. Not 
unfrequently the latest scientific work or 
the last tractate of theology lay open by 
his side, the contents of which would be 
discussed with a neighbor or two as they 
entered ; for, to say the truth, many a 
neighbor, less forehanded and thrifty, felt 
the benefit of this arrangement of Mr. 
Zebedee, and would drop in to see if he 
" wouldn't just tighten that rivet," or " kind 
o' ease out that 'ere brace," or " let a feller 
have a turn with his bellows, or a stroke 
or two on his anvil," to all which the 
good man consented with a grave oblig- 
ingness. The fact was, that, as nothing 
in the establishment of Mr. Marvyn was 
often broken or lost or out of place, he 
had frequent applications to lend to those 
less fortunate persons, always to be found, 
who supply their OAvn lack of consider- 
ateness from the abundance of their 
neighbors. 

He who is known always to be in 
hand, and always obliging, in a neigh- 
borhood, stands the chance sometimes of 
having nothing for himself. Mr. Zebe- 
dee reflected quietly on this subject, tak- 
ing it, as he did all others, into grave and 
orderly consideration, and finally provid- 
ed a complete set of tools, which he kept 
for the purpose of lending; and when 
any of these were lent, he told the next 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



225 



applicant quietly, that the axe or the 
hoe was already out, and thus he recon- 
ciled the Scripture -which commanded 
him to " do good and lend " with that 
law of order which was written in his 
nature. 

Early in life Mr. Marvyn had married 
one of the handsomest girls of his acquaint- 
ance, who had brought him a thriving 
and healthy family of children, of whom 
James was the youngest Mrs. Marvyn 
'was, at this time, a tall, sad-eyed, gentle- 
mannered woman, thoughtful, earnest, 
deep-natured, though sparing in the mat^ 
ter of words. In all her household ar- 
rangements, she had the same thrift and 
order which characterized her husband ; 
Vjut hers was a mind of a finer and 
higher stamp than his. 

In her bed-room, near by her work- 
basket, stood a table covered with books, 
and so systematic were her household 
arrangements, that she never any day 
missed her regular hours for reading. 
One who should have looked over this 
table would have seen there how eager 
and hungry a mind was hid behind the 
silent eyes of this quiet woman. History, 
biography, mathematics, volumes of the 
encyclopaedia, poetry, novels, all alike 
found their time and place there, and 
while she pursued her household labors, 
the busy, active soul within travelled cy- 
cles and cycles of thought, few of which 
ever found expression in words. What 
might be that marvellous music of the 
Miserere, of which she read, that it con- 
vulsed crowds and drew groans and tears 
from the most obdurate ? What might 
be those wondrous pictures of Raphael 
and Leonardo da Vinci ? What would 
it be to see the Apollo, the Venus ? 
What was the charm that enchanted 
the old marblos, charm untold and in- 
conceivable to one who had never seen 
even the slightest approach to a work 
of art ? Then those glaciers of Switzer- 
land, that grand, unapproachable mix- 
ture of beauty and sublimity in her moun- 
tains ! what would it be to one who 
could see it ? Then what were all those 
harmonics of which she read, masses, 



fugues, symphonies ? Oh, could she once 
hear the Miserere of Mozart, just to 
know what music was like ! And the 
cathedrals, what were they ? How, won- 
derful they must b'e, with their forests of 
arches, many-colored as autumn-woods 
with painted glass, and the chants and 
anthems rolling down their long aisles ! 
On all these things she pondered quietly, 
as she sat often on Sundays in the old 
staring, rattle-windowed meeting-house, 
and looked at the uncouth old pulpit, 
and heard the choir faw-sol-la-ing or sing- 
ing fuguing tunes ; but of all this she said 
nothing. 

Sometimes, for days, her thoughts 
would turn from these subjects and be 
absorbed in mathematical or metaphys- 
ical studies. " I have been following 
that treatise on Optics for a week, and 
never understood it till to-day," she once 
said to her husband. " I have found now 
that there has been a mistake in drawing 
the diagrams. I have corrected it, and 
now the demonstration is complete. 
Dinah, take care, that wood is hickory, 
and it takes only seven sticks of that size 
to heat the oven." 

It is not to be supposed that a woman 
of this sort was an inattentive listener 
to preaching so stimulating to the intel- 
lect as that of Dr. II. No pair of eyes 
followed the web of his reasonings with 
a keener and more anxious watchfulness 
than those sad, deep-set, hazel ones ; and 
as she was drawn along the train of its 
inevitable logic, a close observer might 
havo- seen how the shadows deepened 
over them. For, while others listened 
for the clearness of the thought, for the 
acuteess of the argument, she listened 
as a soul wide, fine-strung, acute, re- 
pressed, whose every fibre is a nerve, 
listens to the problem of its own des- 
tiny, listened as the mother of a family 
listens, to know what were the possibili- 
ties, the probabilities, of this mysterious 
existence of ours to herself and those 
dearer to her than herself. 

The consequence of all her listening 
was a history of deep inward sadness. 
That exultant joy, or that entire sub- 



226 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[February, 



mission, with which others seemed to view 
the scheme of the universe, as thus un- 
folded, did not visit her mind. Every- 
thing to her seemed shrouded in gloom 
and mystery ; and that darkness she re- 
ceived as a token of unregeneracy, as 
a sign that she was one of those who 
are destined, by a mysterious decree, 
never to receive the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ. Hence, while her hus- 
band was a deacon of the church, she, 
for years, had sat in her pew while the 
sacramental elements were distributed, 
a mournful spectator. Punctilious in 
every duty, exact, reverential, she still 
regarded herself as a child of wrath, an 
enemy to God, and an heir of perdition ; 
nor could she see any hope of remedy, 
except in the sovereign, mysterious de- 
cree of an Infinite and Unknown Power, 
a mercy for which she waited with the 
sickness of hope deferred. 

Her children had grown up successive- 
ly around her, intelligent and exemplary. 
Her eldest son was mathematical profes- 
sor in one of the leading colleges of New 
England. Her second son, who jointly 
with his father superintended the farm, 
was a man of wide literary culture and of 
fine mathematical genius ; and not unfre- 
quently, on winter evenings, the son, fa- 
ther, and mother worked together, by their 
kitchen fireside, over the calculations for 
the almanac for the ensuing year, which 
the son had been appointed to edit. 

Everything in the family arrange- 
ments was marked by a sober precis- 
ion, a grave and quiet self-possession. 
There was little demonstrativeness of 
affection between parents and children, 
brothers and sisfers, though great mutual 
affection and confidence. It was no> pride, 
nor sternness, but a sort of habitual 
shamefacedness, that kept far back in 
each soul those feelings which are the 
most beautiful in their outcome ; but 
after a while, the habit became so fixed 
a nature, that a caressing or affectionate 
expression could not have passed the lips 
of one to another without a painful awk- 
wardness. Love was understood, once 
for aH, to be the basis on which their life 



was built Once for all, they loved each 
other, and after that, the less t said, the 
better. It had cost the woman's heart 
of Mrs. Marvyn some pangs, in the ear- 
lier part of her wedlock, to accept of 
this once for all, in place of those daily 
outgushings which every woman desires 
should be like God's loving-kindnesses, 
" new every morning " ; but hers, too, was 
a nature strongly inclining inward, and, 
after a few tremulous movements, the 
needle of her soul settled, and her life- 
lot was accepted, not as what she would 
like or could conceive, but as a reason- 
able and good one. Life was a picture 
painted in low, cool tones, but in perfect 
keeping ; and though another and bright- 
er style might have pleased better, she 
did not quarrel with this. 

Into this steady, decorous, highly-re- 
spectable circle the youngest child, James, 
made a formidable irruption. One some- 
times sees launched into a family-circle 
a child of so different a nature from all 
the rest, that it might seem as if, like 
an aerolite, he had fallen out of another 
sphere. All the other babies of the Mar- 
vyn family had been of that orderly, con- 
tented sort who sleep till it is convenient 
to take them up, and while awake suck 
their thumbs contentedly and look up 
with large, round eyes at the ceiling 
when it is not convenient for their elders 
and betters that they should do anything 
else. In farther advanced childhood, 
they had been quiet and decorous chil- 
dren, who could be all dressed and set up 
in chairs, like so many dolls, of a Sunday 
morning, patiently awaiting the stroke of 
the church-bell to be carried out and put 
into the wagon which took them over the 
two-miles' road to church. Possessed of 
such tranquil, orderly, and exemplary 
young offshoots, Mrs. Marvyn had been 
considered eminent for her " faculty " in 
bringing up children. 

But James was destined to put " facul- 
ty," and every other talent which his 
mother possessed, to rout. He was an 
infant of moods and tenses, and those not 
of any regular verb. He would cry of 
nights, and he would be taken up of morn- 



1859.J 



The Minister's Wooing. 



227 



ings, and he would not suck his thumb, 
nor a bundle of caraway-seed tied in a 
rag and dipped in sweet milk, with which 
the good gossips in vain endeavored to 
pacify him. He ibught manfully with 
his two great fat fists the battle of baby- 
hood, utterly reversed all nursery max- 
ims, and reigned as baby over the whole 
prostrate household. When old enough 
to run alone, his splendid black eye.s and 
glossy rings of hair were seen flashing 
and bobbing in every forbidden place 
and occupation. Now trailing on his 
mother's gown, he assisted her in salting 
her butter by throwing in small contribu- 
tions of snuff or sugar, as the case might 
be ; and again, after one of those myste- 
rious periods of silence which are of 
most ominous significance in nursery ex- 
perience, he would rise from the demoli- 
tion of her indigo-bag, showing a face 
ghastly with blue streaks, and looking 
more like a gnome than the son of a re- 
spectable mother. There was not a pitch- 
er of any description of contents left with- 
in reach of his little tiptoes and busy 
fingers that was not pulled over upon his 
giddy head without in the least seeming 
to improve its steadiness. In short, his 
mother remarked that she was thankful 
every night when she had fairly gotten 
him into bed and asleep ; James had 
really got through one more day and 
killed neither himself nor any one else. 
As a boy, the case was little better. 
He did not take to study, yawned over 
books, and cut out moulds for running 
anchors when he should have been think- 
ing of his columns of words in four sylla- 
bles. No mortal knew how he learned to 
read, for he never seemed to stop running 
long enough to learn anything; and yet 
he did learn, and used the talent in con- 
ning over travels, sea-voyages, and lives 
of heroes and naval commanders. Spite 
of father, mother, and brother, he seemed 
to possess the most extraordinary faculty 
of running up unsavory acquaintances. 
He was hail-fellow well-met with every 
Tom and Jack and Jim and Ben and 
Dick that strolled on the wharves, and 
astonished hi.s father with minutest par- 



ticulars of every ship, schooner, and brig 
in the harbor, together with biographical 
notes of th<j different Toms, Dicks, and 
Harrys by whom they were worked. 

There was but one member of the 
family that seemed to know at all what 
to make of James, and that was their 
negro servant, Candace. 

In those days, when domestic slaver)' 
prevailed in New England, it was quite 
a different thing in its aspects from the 
same institution in more southern lati- 
tudes. The hard soil, unyielding to any 
but the most considerate culture, the 
thrifty, close, shrewd habits of the people, 
and their untiring activity and industiy, 
prevented, among the mass of the people, 
any great reliance on slave labor. It was 
something foreign, grotesque, and pictu- 
resque in a life of the most matter-of-fact 
sameness ; it was even as if one should 
see clusters of palm-trees scattered here 
and there among Yankee wooden meet- 
ing-houses, or open one's eyes on clumps 
of yellow-striped aloes growing among 
hardhack and huckleberry bushes in the 
pastures. 

Added to this, there were from the 
very first, in New England, serious doubts 
in the minds of thoughtful and conscien- 
tious people in reference to the lawful- 
ness of slaver)' ; and this scruple prevent- 
ed many from availing themselves of it, 
and proved a restraint on all, so that 
nothing like plantation-life existed, and 
what servants were owned were scattered 
among different families, of which they 
came to be regarded and to regard them- 
selves as a legitimate part and portion, 
Mr. Marvyn, as a man of substance, 
numbering two or three in his establish- 
ment, among whom Candace reigned 
chief. The presence of these tropical 
specimens of humanity, with their wide, 
joyous, rich physical abundance of na- 
ture and their hearty abandon of out- 
ward expression, was a relief to the still 
clear-cut lines in which the picture of 
New England life was drawn, which an 
artist must appreciate. 

No race has ever shown such infinite 
and rich capabilities of adaptation to va- 



228 



The Minister's Wooing. 



[February, 



rying soil and circumstances as the negro. 
Alike to them the snows of Canada, the 
hard, rocky land of New England, with 
its set lines and orderly ways, or the 
gorgeous profusion and loose abundance 
of the Southern States. Sambo and 
Cuffy expand under them all. New 
England yet preserves among her hills 
and valleys the lingering echoes of the 
jokes and jollities of various sable wor- 
thies, who saw alike in orthodoxy and 
heterodoxy, in Dr. This-side and Dr. 
That-side, only food for more abundant 
merriment ; in fact, the minister of those 
days not unfrequently had his black 
shadow, a sort of African Boswell, who 
powdered his wig, brushed his boots, de- 
fended and patronized his sermons, and 
strutted complacently about as if through 
virtue of his blackness he had absorbed 
every ray of his master's dignity and 
wisdom. In families, the presence of 
these exotics was a godsend to the chil- 
dren, supplying from the abundant out- 
wardness and demonstrativeness of their 
nature that aliment of sympathy so dear 
to childhood, which the repressed and qui- 
et habits of New England education de- 
nied. Many and many a New Englander 
counts among his pleasantest early recol- 
lections the memory of some of these 
genial creatures, who by their warmth of 
nature were the first and most potent 
mesmerizers of his childish mind. 

Candace was a powerfully built, majes- 
tic black woman, corpulent, heavy, with a 
swinging majesty of motion like that of 
a ship in a ground-swell. Her shining 
black skin and glistening white teeth were 
indications of perfect physical vigor which 
had never known a day's sickness ; her 
turban, of broad red and yellow bandan- 
na stripes, had even a warm tropical glow ; 
and her ample skirts were always ready 
to be spread over every childish trans- 
gression of her youngest pet and favorite, 
James. 

She used to hold him entranced long 
winter-evenings, while she sat knitting 
in the chimney-corner, and crooned to 
him strange, wild African legends of the 
things that she had seen in her childhood 



and early days. for she had been stolen 
when about fifteen years of age ; and 
these weird, dreamy talks increased the 
fervor of his roving imagination, and his 
desire to explore the wonders of the wide 
and unknown world. When rebuked or 
chastised, it was she who had secret bow- 
els of mercy for him, and hid doughnuts 
in her ample bosom to be secretly admin- 
istered to him in mitigation of the sen- 
tence that sent him snpperless to bed ; 
and many a triangle of pie, many a wedge 
of cake, had conveyed to him surreptitious 
consolations which his more conscientious 
mother longed, but dared not, to impart. 
In fact, these ministrations, if suspected, 
were winked at by Mrs. Marvyn, for two 
reasons : first, that mothers are generally 
glad of any loving-kindness to an erring 
boy, which they are not responsible for ; 
and second, that Candace was so set in 
her ways and opinions that one might as 
well come in front of a ship under full sail 
as endeavor to stop her in a matter where 
her heart was engaged. 

To be sure, she had her own private 
and special quarrels 'with " Massa James " 
when he disputed any of her sovereign 
orders in the kitchen, and would some- 
times pursue him with uplifted rolling- 
pin and floury hands when he had 
snatched a gingernut or cooky without 
suitable deference or supplication, and 
would declare, roundly, that there " never 
was sich an aggravatin' young un." But 
if, on the strength of this, any one else 
A'entured a reproof, Candace was imme- 
diately round on the other side : " Dat 
ar' chile gwin' to be spiled, 'cause dey's 
allers a-pickin' on him ; he's well enough, 
on'y let him alone." 

Well, under this miscellaneous assort- 
ment of influences, through the order 
and gravity and solemn monotone of life 
at home, with the unceasing tick-tack 
of the clock forever resounding through 
clean, empty-seeming rooms, through 
the sea, ever shining, ever smiling, dimp- 
ling, soliciting, like a magical charger 
who comes saddled and bridled and of- 
fers to take you to fairyland, through 
acquaintance with all sorts of foreign, out- 



1859.] 



The Minister's Wooing. 



229 



landish ragamuffins among the ships in 
the harbor, from disgust of slow-moving 
oxen, and long-drawn, endless furrows 
round the fifteen-acre lot, from misun- 
derstandings with grave elder brothers, 
and feeling somehow as if, he knew not 
why, he grieved his mother all the time 
just by being what he was and couldn't 
help being, and, finally, by a bitter 
break with his father, in which came that 
last wrench for an individual existence 
which some time or other the young grow- 
ing mind will give to old authority, by 
all these united, was the lot at length 
cast ; for one evening James was missing 
at supper, missing by the fireside, gone 
all night, not at home to breakfast, till, 
finally, a strange, weird, most heathenish- 
looking cabin-boy, who had often been 
forbidden the premises by Mr. Marvyn, 
brought in a letter, half-defiant, half-peni- 
tent, which announced that James had 
sailed in the " Ariel " the evening before. 

Mr. Zebedee Marvyn set his face as a 
flint, and said, " He went out from us be- 
cause he was not of us," whereat old 
Candace lifted her great floury fist from 
the kneading-trough, and, shaking it like 
a large snowball, said, " Oh, you go 'long, 
Massa Marvyn ; ye'll live to count dat 
ar' boy for do staff o' your old age yet, 
now I tell ye ; got de makin' o' ten or'- 
nary men in him ; kittles dat's full allers 
will bile over; good yeast will blow out 
de cork, lucky ef it don't bust de bottle. 
Tell ye, der's angels has der hooks in 
sich, and when de Lord wants him dey'll 
haul him in safe and sound." And Can- 
dace concluded her speech by giving a 
lift to her whole batch of dough and fling- 
ing it down in the trough with an emphasis 
that made the pewter on the dresser rattle. 

This apparently irreverent way of ex- 
pressing her mind, so contrary to the defer- 
ential habits studiously inculcated in fam- 
ily discipline, had grown to be so much a 
matter of course to all the family that no- 
body ever thought of rebuking it There 
was a sort of savage freedom about her 
which they excused in right of her having 



been born and bred a heathen, and of 
course not to be expected to come at once 
under the yoke of civilization. In fact, you 
must all have noticed, my dear readers, 
that there are some sorts of people for 
whom everybody turns out as they would 
for a railroad-car, without stopping to ask 
why, and Candace was one of them. 

Moreover, Mr. Marvyn was not dis- 
pleased with this defence of James, as 
might be inferred from his mentioning it 
four or five times in the course of the 
morning, to say how foolish it was, won- 
dering why it was that Candace and ev- 
erybody else got so infatuated with that 
boy, and ending, at last, after a long 
period of thought, with the remark, that 
these poor African creatuVes often seemed 
to have a great deal of shrewdness in 
them, and that he was often astonished 
at the penetration that Candace showed. 

At the end of the year James came 
home, more quiet and manly than he 
had ever been known before, so hand- 
some with his sunburnt face, and his 
keen, dark eyes, and glossy curls, that 
half the girls in the front gallery lost 
their hearts the first Sunday he appeared 
in church. He was tender as a woman 
to his mother, and followed her with his 
eyes, like a lover, wherever she went ; he 
made due and manly acknowledgments 
to his father, but declared his fixed and 
settled intention to abide by the pro- 
fession he had chosen ; and he brought 
home all sorts of strange foreign gifts 
for every member of the household. Can- 
dace was glorified with a flaming red 
and yellow turban of Moorish stuff, from 
Mogadore, together with a pair of gor- 
geous yellow morocco slippers with peak- 
ed toes, which, though there appeared no 
call to wear them in her common course 
of life, she would put on her fat feet and 
contemplate with daily satisfaction. She 
became increasingly strengthened there- 
by in the conviction that the angels who 
had their hooks in Massa James's jacket 
were already beginning to shorten the 
line. 



[ To be continued.] 



23C The Palm and the Pino. [February, 



THE PALM AND THE PINE. 

WHEX Peter led the First Crusade, 
A Norseman wooed an Arab maid. 

He loved her lithe and palmy grace, 
And the dark beauty of her face : 

She loved his cheeks, so ruddy fair, 
His sunny eyes and yellow hair. 

He called : she left her father's tent ; 
She followed whereso'er he went 

She left the palms of Palestine 
To sit beneath the Norland pine. 

She sang the musky Orient strains 
Where Winter swept the snowy plains. 

Their natures met like night and morn 
What time the morning-star is born. 

The child that from their meeting grew 
Hung, like that star, between the two. 

The glossy night his mother shed 
From her long hair was on his head : 

But in its shade they saw arise 
The morning of his father's eyes. 

Beneath the Orient's tawny stain 
Wandered the Norseman's crimson vein : 

Beneath the Northern force was seen 
The Arab sense, alert and keen. 

His were the Viking's sinewy hands, 
The arching foot of Eastern lands. 

And in his soul conflicting strove 
Northern indifference, Southern love ; 



The chastity of temperate blood, 
Impetuous passion's fiery flood ; 

The settled faith that nothing shakes, 
The jealousy a breath awakes ; 



The Pdm and the Pine. 231 

The planning Reason's sober gaze, 
And Fancy's meteoric blaze. 

And stronger, as he grew to man, 
The contradicting natures ran, 

As mingled streams from Etna flow, 
One born of fire, and one of snow. 

And one impelled, and one withheld, 
And one obeyed, and one rebelled. 

One gave him force, the other fire ; 
This self-control, and that desire. 

One filled his heart with fierce unrest ; 

With peace serene the other blessed. 

\ 

He knew the depth and knew the height, 
The bounds of darkness and of light ; 

And who these far extremes has seen 
Must needs know all that lies between. 

So, with untaught, instinctive art, 
He read the myriad-natured heart. 

He met the men of many a land ; 
They gave their souls into his hand ; 

And none of them was long unknown : 
The hardest lesson was his own. 

But how he lived, and where, and when, 
It matters not to other men ; 

For, as a fountain disappears, 
To gush again in later years, 

So natures lost again may rise 
After the lapse of centuries, 

May track the hidden course of blood 
Through many a generation's flood, 

Till, on some unsuspected field, 
The fetent lineage is revealed. 

The hearts that met in Palestine, 
And mingled 'neath the Norland pine, 
Still beat with double pulse in mine. 



232 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[February, 



THE PROFESSOR AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE. 

WHAT HE SAID, WHAT HE HEARD, AND WHAT HE SAW. 



BACK again ! A turtle which means 
a tortoise is fond of his shell ; but if you 
put a live coal on his back, he crawls out 
of it. So the boys say. 

It is a libel on the turtle. He grows 
to his shell, and his shell is in his body as 
much as his body is in his shell. I don't 
think there is one of our boarders quite 
so testudinous as I am. Nothing but a 
combination of motives, more peremp- 
tory than the coal on the turtle's back, 
could have got me to leave the shelter 
of my carapace ; and after memorable 
interviews, and kindest hospitalities, and 
grand sights, and huge influx of patriotic 
pride, for every American owns all 
America, 

" Creation's heir, the world, the world is " 

his, if anybody's, I come back with the 
feeling which a boned turkey might ex- 
perience, if, retaining his consciousness, 
he were allowed to resume his skeleton. 
Welcome, O Fighting Gladiator, and Re- 
cumbent Cleopatra, and Dying Warrior, 
whose classic outlines (reproduced in the 
calcined mineral of Lutetia) crown my 
loaded shelves ! Welcome, ye triumphs 
of pictorial art (repeated by the magic 
graver) that look down upon me from 
the walls of my sacred cell ! Vesalius, 
as Titian drew him, high-fronted, still- 
eyed, thick-bearded, with signet-ring, as 
beseems a gentleman, with book and 
carelessly-held eyeglass, marking him a 
scholar ; thou, too, Jan Kuyper, com- 
monly called Jan Praktiseer, old man 
of a century and seven years besides, 
father of twenty sons and two daughters, 
cut in copper by Houbraken, bought from 
a portfolio on one of the Paris quais ; 
and ye Three Trees of Rembrandt, black 
in shadow against the blaze of sunlight ; 
and thou Rosy Cottager of Sir Joshua, 
thy roses hinted by the peppery burin of 
Bartolozzi ; ye, too, of lower grades in 



nature, yet not unlovely nor unrenown- 
ed, Young Bull of Paulus Potter, and 
Sleeping Cat of Cornelius Visscher ; wel- 
come once more to my eyes ! The old 
books look out from the shelves, and I 
seem to read on their backs something 
besides their titles, a kind of solemn 
greeting. The crimson carpet flushes 
warm under my feet. The arm-chair 
hugs me ; the swivel-chair spins round 
with me, as if it were giddy with pleas- 
ure ; the vast recumbent fauteuil stretches 
itself out under my weight, as one joy- 
ous with food and wine stretches in after- 
dinner laughter. 

The boarders were pleased to say that 
they were glad to get me back. One of 
them ventured a compliment, namely, 
that I talked as if I believed what I said. 
This was apparently considered some- 
thing unusual, by its being mentioned. 

One who means to talk with entire sin- 
cerity, I said, always feels himself in 
danger of two things, namely, an affecta- 
tion of bluntness, like that of which Corn- 
wall accuses Kent in " Lear, " and actual 
rudeness. What a man wants to do, in 
talking with a stranger, is to get and to 
give as much of the best and most real 
life that belongs to the two talkers as the 
time will let him. Life is short, and con- 
versation apt to run to mere words. Mr. 
Hue I think it is, who tells us some very 
good stories about the way in which two 
Chinese gentlemen contrive to keep up 
a long talk without saying a word which 
has any meaning in it. Something like 
this is occasionally heard on this side of 
the Great Wall. The best Chinese talk- 
ers I know are some pretty women 
whom I meet fr,om time to time. Pleas- 
ant, airy, complimentary, the little flakes 
of flattery glimmering in their talk like 
the bits of gold-leaf in eau-de-vie de Dant- 
zic ; their accents flowing on in a soft rip- 
ple, never a wave, and never a calm ; 



1859.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



233 



words nicely fitted, but never a colored 
phrase or a high-flavored epithet ; they 
turn air into syllables so gracefully, that 
we find meaning for the music they make 
as we find faces in the coals and fairy pal- 
aces in the clouds. There is something 
very odd, though, about this mechanical 
talk. 

You have sometimes been in a train 
on the railroad when the engine was de- 
tached a long way from the station you 
were approaching ? Well, you have no- 
ticed how quietly and rapidly the cars 
kept on, just as if the locomotive were 
drawing them ? Indeed, you would not 
have suspected that you were travelling 
on the strength of a dead fact, if you had 
not seen the engine running away from 
you on a side-track. Upon my conscience, 
I believe some of these pretty women de- 
tach their minds entirely, sometimes, from 
their talk, and, what is more, that we 
never know the difference. Their lips 
let off the fluty syllables just as their fin- 
gers would sprinkle the music-drops from 
their pianos; unconscious habit turns the 
phrase of thought into words just as it 
does that of music into notes. Well, they 
govern the world, for all that, these sweet- 
lipped women, because beauty is the in- 
dex of a larger fact than wisdom. 

The Bombazine wanted an expla- 
nation. 

Madam, said I, wisdom is the ab- 
stract of the past, but beauty is the 
promise of the future. 

All this, however, is not what I 

was going to say. Here am I, suppose, 
seated we will say at a dinner-table 

alongside of an intelligent English- 
man. We look in each other's faces, 

we exchange a dozen words. One 
thing is settled : we mean not to offend 
each other, to be perfectly courteous, 
more than courteous; for we are the en- 
tertainer and the entertained, and cher- 
ish particularly amiable feelings to each 
other. The claret is good'; and if our 
blood reddens a little with its warm crim- 
son, we are none the less kind for it. 

1 don't think people that talk over 

their victuals are like to say anything 
VOL. in. 15 



very great, especially if they get their 
heads muddled with strong drink before 
they, begin jabberin'. 

The Bombazine uttered this with a 
sugaiy sourness, as if the words had 
been steeped in a solution of acetate of 
lead. The boys of my time used to call 
a hit like this a "side-winder." 

1 must finish this woman. 

Madam, -I said, the Great Teacher 
seems to have been fond of talking as he 
sat at meat. Because this was a good 
while ago, in a far-off place, you forget 
what the true fact of it was, that those 
were real dinners, where people were 
hungry and thirsty, and where you met 
a very miscellaneous company. Proba- 
bly there was a great dea^ of loose talk 
among the guests; at any rate, there 
was always wine, we may believe. 

Whatever may be the hygienic ad- 
vantages or disadvantages of wine, and 
I for one, except for certain particular 
ends, believe in water, and, I blush to 
say it, in black tea, there is no doubt 
about its being the grand specific against 
dull dinners. A score of people come to- 
gether in all moods of mind and body. 
The problem is, in the space of one hour, 
more or less, to bring them all into the 
same condition of slightly exalted life. 
Food alone is enough for one person, 
perhaps, talk, alone, for another ; but 
the grand equalizer and fraternizer, which 
works up the radiators to their maximum 
radiation, and the absorbents to their 
maximum receptivity, is now just where 
it was when 
" The conscious water saw its Lord and 

blushed," 

when six great vessels containing water, 
which seems to have been carefully puri- 
fied, so as to be ready for the marriage- 
feast, were changed into the best of wine. 
I once wrote a song about wine, in which 
I spoke so warmly of it, that I waa 
afraid some would think it was written 
inter pocula ; whereas it was compo.-cd in 
the bosom of my family, under the most 
tranquillizing domestic influences. 

The divinity-student turned to- 
wards me, looking mischievous. Can 



234 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[February, 



you tell me, he said, who wrote a 
song for a temperance celebration once, 
of which the following is a verse ? 

Alas for the loved one, too gentle and fair 
The joys of the banquet to chasten and share ! 
Her eye lost its light that his goblet might 

shine, 
And the rose of her cheek was dissolved in 

his wine ! 

/ did, I answered. What are you 
going to do about it ? I will tell you an- 
other line I wrote long ago : 

Don't be " consistent," but be simply true. 

The longer I live, the more I am satis- 
fied of two things : first, that the truest 
lives are those that are cut rose-diamond- 
fashion, with many facets answering to 
the many-planed aspects of the world 
about them ; secondly, that society is al- 
ways trying in some way or other to 
grind us down to a single flat surface. It 
is hard work to resist this grinding-down 
action. Now give me a chance. Better 
eternal and universal abstinence than 
the brutalities of those days that made 
wives and mothers and daughters and 
sisters blush for those whom they should 
have honored, as they, came reeling home 
from their debauches ! Yet better even 
excess than lying and hypocrisy ; and if 
wine is upon all our tables, let us praise 
iit for its color and fragrance and social 
tendency, so far as it deserves, and not 
hug a bottle in the closet and pretend not 
to know the use of a wine-glass at a public 
dinner! I think you will find that peo- 
ple who honestly mean to be true really 
contradict themselves much more rarely 
than those who try to be " consistent." 
But a great many things we say can be 
i made to appear contradictory, simply be- 
cause they are partial views of a truth, 
and may often look unlike at first, as a 
front view of a face and its profile often 
do. 

Here is a distinguished divine, for 
whom I have great respect, fojr I owe 
him a charming hour at one of our litera- 
ry anniversaries, and he has often spoken 
noble words ; but he holds up a remark 
of my friend the " Autocrat," which I 



grieve to say he twice misquotes, by omit- 
ting the very word which gives it its sig- 
nificance, the word fluid, intended to 
typify the mobility of the restricted will, 
holds it up, I say, as if it attacked the 
reality of the self-determining principle, 
instead of illustrating its limitations by 
an image. Now I will not explain any 
farther, still less defend, and least of all 
attack, but simply quote a few lines from 
one of my friend's poems, printed more 
than ten years ago, and ask the distin- 
guished gentleman where he has ever 
asserted more strongly or absolutely the 
independent will of the " subcreative 
centre," as my heretical friend has else- 
where called man. 

Thought, conscience, will, to make them 

all thy own 

He rent a pillar from the eternal throne ! 
Made in His image, thou must nobly dare 
The thorny crown of sovereignty to share. 
Think not too meanly of thy low estate; 
Thou hast a choice ; to choose is to create ! 

If he will look a little closely, he will 
see that the profile and the full-face 
views of the will are both true and per- 
fectly consistent. 

Now let us come back, after this long 
digression, to the conversation with the 
intelligent Englishman. We begin skir- 
mishing with a few light ideas, testing 
for thoughts, as our electro-chemical 
friend, De Sauty, if there were such a 
person, would test for his current ; trying 
a little litmus-paper for acids, and then 
a slip of turmeric-paper for alkalies, as 
chemists do with unknown compounds ; 
flinging the lead, and looking at the shells 
and sands it brings up to find out wheth- 
er we are like to keep in shallow water, 
or shall have to drop the deep-sea line ; 
in short, seeing what we have to deal 
with. If the Englishman gets his Hs 
pretty well placed, he comes from one 
of the higher grades of the British social 
order, and we shall find him a good com- 
panion. 

But, after all, here is a great fact be-, 
tween us. We belong to two different 
civilizations, and, until we recognize what 
separates us, we are talking like Pyramus 



1859.] 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



235 



and Thisbe, without any hole in the wall 
to talk through. Therefore, on the whole, 
if he were a superior fellow, incapable 
of mistaking it for personal conceit, I 
think I would let out the fact of the real 
American feeling about Old- World folks. 
They are children to us in certain points 
of view. They are playing with toys we 
have done with for whole generations. 
That silly little drum they are always 
beating on, and the trumpet and the 
feather they make so much noise and 
cut such a figure with, we have not 
quite outgrown, but play with much less 
seriously and constantly than they do. 
Then there is a whole museum of wigs, 
and masks, and lace-coats, and gold- 
sticks, and grimaces, and phrases, which 
we laugh at, honestly, without affecta- 
tion, that are still used in the Old- World 
puppet-shows. I don't think we on our 
part ever understand the Englishman's 
concentrated loyalty and specialized rev- 
erence. But then we do think more of 
a man, as such, (barring some little diffi- 
culties about race and complexion which 
the Englishman will touch us on pres- 
ently,) than any people that ever lived 
did think of him. Our reverence is a 
great deal wider, if it is less intense. 
We have caste among us, to some ex- 
tent, it is true ; but there is never a col- 
lar on the American wolf-dog such as 
you often see on the English mastiff, not- 
withstanding his robust, hearty individ- 
uality. 

This confronting of two civilizations 
is always a grand sensation to me ; it 
is like cutting through the isthmus and 
letting the two oceans swim into each 
other's laps. The trouble is, it is so 
difficult to let out the whole American 
nature without its self-assertion seeming to 
take a personal character. But I never 
enjoy the Englishman so much as when 
he talks of church and king like Man- 
co Capac among the Peruvians. Then 
you get the real British flavor, which the 
cosmopolite Englishman loses. The best 
conversation I have had with one of them 
for a long time, lively, fluent, courteous, 
delightful, was a variation and illustrative 



development in elegant phrases of the 
following short sentences. 

Englishman. Sir, your New- World 
civilization is barbarism. 

American. Sir, your Old- World de- 
velopment is infancy. 

How much better this thorough inter- 
penetration of ideas than a barren inter- 
change of courtesies, or a bush-fighting 
argument, in which each man tries to 
cover as much of himself and expose as 
much of his opponent as the tangled thick- 
et of the disputed ground will let him ! 

My thoughts flow in layers or 

strata, at least three deep. I follow a 
slow person's talk, and keep a perfectly 
clear under-current of my own beneath 
it. My friend the Autocrat; has already 
made a similar remark. Under both 
runs obscurely a consciousness belonging 
to a third train of reflections, indepen- 
dent of the two others. I will try to 
write out a mental movement in three 
parts. 

A. First part, or Mental Soprano, 
thought follows a woman talking. 

B. Second part, or Mental Bary- 
tone, my running accompaniment. 

C. Third part, or Mental Basso, 
low grumble of an importunate self-re- 
peating idea. 

A. White lace, three skirts, looped 
with flowers, wreath of apple-blossoms, 
gold bracelets, diamond pin and ear- 
rings, the most delicious berthe you ever 
saw, white satin slippers 

B. Deuse take her ! What a fool 
she is ! Hear her chatter ! (Look out 
of window just here. Two pages and 
a half of description, if it were all writ- 
ten out, in one tenth of a second.) Go 
ahead, old lady ! (Eye catches picture 
over fireplace.) There's that infernal 
family nose ! Came over in the " May- 
flower" on the first old fool's face. Why 
don't they wear a ring in it ? 

C. You'll be late at lecture, late at 
lecture, late, late, late 

I observe that a deep layer of thought 



236 



Tfte Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[February, 



sometimes makes itself felt through the 
superincumbent strata, thus : The usual 
single or double currents shall flow on, 
but there shall be an influence blending 
with them, disturbing them in an obscure 
way, until all at once I say, Oh, there ! 
I knew there was something troubling me, 
and the thought which had been work- 
ing through comes up to the surface clear, 
definite, and articulates itself, a disa- 
greeable duty, perhaps, or an unpleas- 
ant recollection. 

The inner world of thought and the 
outer world of events are alike in this, 
that they are both brimful. There is 
no space between consecutive thoughts, 
or between the never-ending series of 
actions. All pack tight, and mould 
their surfaces against each other, so 
that in the long run there is a wonder- 
ful average uniformity in the forms of 
both thoughts and actions, just as you 
find that cylinders crowded all become 
hexagonal prisms, and spheres pressed 
together are formed into regular poly- 
hedra. 

Every event that a man would master 
must be mounted on the run, and no 
man ever caught the reins of a thought 
except as it galloped by him. So, to 
carry out, with another comparison, my 
remark about the layers of thought, 
we may consider the mind, as it moves 
among thoughts or events, like a circus- 
rider whirling round with a great troop 
of horses. He can mount a fact or an 
idea, and guide it more or less complete- 
ly, but he cannot stop it. So, as I said 
in another way at the beginning, he can 
stride two or three thoughts at once, but 
not break their steady walk, trot, or gal- 
lop. He can only take his foot from the 
saddle of one thought and put it on that 
of another. 

What is the saddle of a thought ? 

Why, a word, of course. Twenty years 
after you have dismissed a thought, it 
suddenly wedges up to you through the 
press, as if it had been steadily galloping 
round and round all that time without a 
rider. 

The will does t ->t act in the interspaces 



of thought, for there are no such inter- 
spaces, but simply steps from the back of 
one moving thought upon that of another. 

1 should like to ask, said the di- 
vinity-student, since we are getting into 
metaphysics, how you can admit space, 
if all things are in contact, and how you 
can admit time, if it is always now to 
something. 

I will thank you for the dry toast, 
was my answer. 

1 wonder if you know this class 

of philosophers in books or elsewhere. 
One of them makes his bow to the pub- 
lic, and exhibits an unfortunate truth 
bandaged up so that it cannot stir 
hand or foot, as helpless, apparently, 
and unable to take care of itself, as an 
Egyptian mummy. He then proceeds, 
with the air and method of a master, to 
take off the bandages. Nothing can be 
neater than the way in which he does it. 
But as he takes off layer after layer, the 
truth seems to grow smaller and smaller, 
and some of its outlines begin to look 
like something we have seen before. At 
last, when he has got them all off, and 
the truth struts out naked, we recognize 
it as a diminutive and familiar acquaint- 
ance whom we have known in the streets 
all our lives. The fact is, the philoso- 
pher has coaxed the truth jnto his study 
and put all those bandages on ; of course 
it is not very hard for him to take them 
off. Still, a great many people like to 
watch the process, he does it so neatly ! 

Dear ! dear ! I am ashamed to write 
and talk, sometimes, when I see how those 
functions of the large-brained, thumb- 
opposing plantigrade are abused by my 
fellow-vertebrates, perhaps by myself. 
How they spar for wind, instead of hit- 
ting from the shoulder ! 

The young fellow called John 

arose and placed himself in a neat fight- 
ing attitude. Fetch on the fellah that 
makes them long Avords ! he said, and 
planted a straight hit with the right fist 
in the concave palm of the left hand with 
a click like a cup and ball. You small 
boy there, hurry up that " Webster's 
Unabridged ! " 



1859.] 



The Professor at the ' Breakfast- Table. 



237 



The little gentleman with the malfor- 
mation, before, described, shocked the 
propriety of the breakfast-table by a loud 
utterance of three words, of which the 
two last were " Webster's Unabridged," 
and the first was an emphatic monosyl- 
lable. Beg pardon, he added, forgot 
myself. But let us have an English dic- 
tionary, if we are to have any. I don't 
believe in clipping the coin of the realm, 
Sir ! If I put a weathercock on my 
house, Sir, I want it to tell which way 
the wind blows up aloft, off from the 
prairies to the ocean, or off' from the 
ocean to the prairies, or any way it 
wants to blow ! I don't want a weather- 
cock with a winch in an old gentleman's 
study that he can take hold of and turn, 
o that the vane shall -point west when 
the great wind overhead is blowing east 
with all its might, Sir ! Wait till we give 
you a dictionary, Sir ! It takes Boston 
to do that thing, Sir ! 

Some folks think water can't run 

down-hill anywhere out of Boston, re- 
marked the Koh-i-noor. 

I don't know what some folks think so 
well as I know what some fools say, 
rejoined Little Boston. If importing 
inost dry goods made the best scholars, 
T dare say you would know where to 
look for 'em. Mr. Webster couldn't 
spell, Sir, or wouldn't spell, Sir, at any 
rate, he didn't spell ; ami the end of it 
was a fight between the owners of some 
copyrights and the dignity of this noble 
language which we have inherited from 
our English fathers, language ! the 
blood of the soul, Sir ! into which, our 
thoughts run and out of which they 
grow ! We know what a word is worth 
here in Boston. Young Sam Adams 
got up on the stage at Commencement, 
out at Cambridge there, with his gown 
on, the Governor and Council looking 
on in the name of his Majesty, King 
George the Second, and the girls look- 
ing down out of the galleries, and taught 
people how to spell a word that wasn't 
in the Colonial dictionaries ! R-e, re, 
t-i-s, sis, t-a-n-c-e, tance, Resistance ! 
That was in '43, and it was a good 



many years before the Boston boys be- 
gan spelling it with their muskets; but 
when they did begin, they spelt it so loud 
that the old bedridden women in the 
English almshouses heard every sylla- 
ble ! Yes, yes, yes, it was a good 
while before those other two Boston boys 
got the class so far along that it could 
spell those two hard words, Independence 
and Union ! I tell you what, there are 
a thousand lives, aye, sometimes a mil- 
lion, go to get a new word into a lan- 
guage that is worth speaking. We know 
what language means too well here in 
Boston to play tricks with it. We never 
make a new word till we have made a 
new thing or a new thought, Sir! When 
we shaped the new mould of this con- 
tinent, we had to make a few. When, 
by God's permission, we abrogated the 
primal curse of maternity, we had to 
make a word or two. The cutwater of 
this great Leviathan clipper, the OCCI- 
DENTAL, this thirty-masted wind-and- 
steam wave-crusher, must throw a lit- 
tle spray over the human vocabulary as 
it splits the waters of a new world's des- 
tiny ! 

He rose as he spoke, until his stature 
seemed to swell into the fair human pro- 
portions. His feet must have been on the 
upper round of his high chair ; that was 
the only way I could account for it. 

Puts her through fust-rate, said the 
young fellow whom the boarders call 
John. 

The venerable and kind-looking old 
gentleman who sits opposite said he 
remembered Sam Adams as Governor. 
An old man in a brown coat. Saw him 
take the Chair on Boston Common. Was 
a boy then, and remembers sitting on tho 
fence in front of the old Hancock house. 
Recollects he had a glazed 'lection-bun, 
and sat eating it and looking down on to 
the Common. Lalocks flowered late that 
year, and he got a great bunch off from 
the bushes in the Hancock front-yard. 

Them 'lection buns are no go, said 
the young man John, so called. I know 
the trick. Give a fellah a fo'penny bun 
in the mornin', an* he downs the whole 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[February, 



of it. In about an hour it swells up in 
his stomach as big as a football, and 
lus feedin's sp'ilt for that day. That's 
the -way to stop off a young one from 
eatin' up all the 'lection dinner. 

Salem ! Saleni ! not Boston, shouted 
the little man. 

But the Koh-i-noor laughed a great 
rasping laugh, and the boy Benjamin 
Franklin looked sharp at his mother, as 
if he remembered the bun-experiment as 
a part of his past personal history. 

Little Boston was holding a fork in his 
left hand. He stabbed a boukler of home- 
made bread with it, mechanically, and 
looked at it as if it ought to shriek. It 
did not, but he sat as if watching it. 

Language is a solemn thing, I 

said. It grows out of life, out of its 
agonies and ecstasies, its wants and its 
weariness. Every language is a temple, 
in which the soul of those who speak it is 
enshrined. Because time softens its out- 
lines and rounds the sharp angles of its 
cornices, shall a fellow take a pickaxe to 
help time ? Let me tell you what comes 
of meddling with things that can take 
care of themselves. A friend of mine 
had a watch given him, when he was a 
boy, a " bull's eye," with a loose silver 
case that came off like an oyster-shell 
from its contents ; you know them, the 
cases that you hang on your thumb, while 
the core or the real watch lies in your 
hand as naked as a peeled apple. Well, 
he began with taking off the case, and 
so on from one liberty to another, until 
he got it, fairly open, and there were the 
works, as good as if they were alive, 
crown-wheel, balance-wheel, and all the 
rest. All right except one thing, there 
was a confounded little hair had got 
tangled round the balance-wheel. So my 
young Solomon got a pair of tweezers, 
and caught hold of the hair very nicely, 
and pulled it right out, without touching 
any of the wheels, when, buzzzZZZ ! 
and the watch had done up twenty-four 
hours in double magnetic-telegraph time ! 
The English language was wound up 
to run some thousands of years, I trust ; 
but if everybody is to be pulling at every- 



thing he thinks is a hair, our grandchil- 
dren will have to make the discovery 
that it is a \ia\r-spring, and the old An- 
glo-Norman soul's-timekeeper will run 
down, as so many other dialects have 
done before it. I can't stand this med- 
dling any better than you, Sir. But we 
have a great deal to be proud of in the 
lifelong labors of that old lexicographer, 
and we mustn't be ungrateful. Besides, 
don't let us deceive ourselves, the war 
of the dictionaries is only a disguised 
rivalry of cities, colleges, and especially 
of publishers. After all, the language will 
shape itself by larger forces than pho- 
nography and dictionary-making. You 
may spade up the ocean as much as 
you like, and harrow it afterwards, if you 
can, but the moon will still lead the tides, 
and the winds will form their surface. 

Do you know Richardson's Dic- 
tionary? I said to my neighbor the 
divinity-student. 

Habw ? said the divinity-student. 
He colored, as he noticed on my face a 
twitch in one of the muscles which tuck 
up the corner of the mouth, (zyyomaticus 
major,') and which I could not hold back 
from making a little movement on its 
own account. 

It was too late. A country-boy, las- 
soed when he was a half-grown colt 
Just as good as a city-boy, and in some 
ways, perhaps, better, but caught a lit- 
tle too old not to carry some marks of 
his earlier ways of life. Foreigners, who 
have talked a strange tongue half their 
lives, return to the language of their child- 
hood in their dying hours. Gentlemen 
in fine linen, and scholars in large libra- 
ries, taken by surprise, or in a careless 
moment, will sometimes let slip a word 
they knew as boys in homespun and have 
not spoken since that time, but it lay 
there under all their culture. That is 
one way you may know the country- 
boys after they have grown rich or cele- 
brated ; another is by the odd old fam- 
ily names, particularly those of the He- 
brew prophets, which the good old peo- 
ple have saddled them with. 

Boston has enough of England 



1859.] 



Tlie Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



about it to make a good English dic- 
tionary, said that fresh-looking youth 
whom I have mentioned as sitting at the 
right upper corner of the table. 

J turned and looked him full in the 
face, for the pure, manly intonations 
arrested me. The voice was youthful, 
but full of character. I suppose some 
persons have a peculiar susceptibility in 
the matter of voice. Hear this. 

Not long after the American Revolu- 
tion, a young lady was sitting in her fa- 
ther's chaise in a street of this town of 
Boston. She overheard a little girl talk- 
ing or singing, and was mightily taken 
with the tones of her voice. Nothing 
would satisfy her but she must have that 
little girl come and live in her father's 
house. So the child came, being then 
nine years old. Until her marriage she 
remained under the same roof with the 
young lady. Her children became suc- 
cessively inmates of the lady's dwelling ; 
and now, seventy years, or thereabouts, 
since the young lady heard the child 
singing, one of that child's children and 
one of her grandchildren are with her in 
that home, where she, no longer young, 
except in heart, passes her peaceful days. 
Three generations linked together by 
BO light a breath of accident 1 

I liked the sound of this youth's 
voice, I said, and his look when I came 
to observe him a little more closely. 
His complexion had something better 
than the bloom and freshness which 
had first attracted me ; it had that 
diffused tone which is a sure index of 
wholesome lusty life. A fine liberal 
style of nature it seemed to be : hair 
crisped, moustache springing thick and 
dark, head firmly planted, lips finished, 
as one commonly sees them in gentle- 
men's families, a pupil well contracted, 
and a mouth that opened frankly with 
a white lla,sh of teeth that looked as if 
they could serve him as they say Ethan 
Allen's used to serve their owner, to. 
draw nails with. This is the kind of fel- 
low to walk a frigate's deck and bowl his 
broadsides into the " Gadlant Thudnder- 
bomb," or any fbrty-portholed adventurer 



who would like to exchange a few tons 
of iron compliments. I don't know what 
put this into my head, for it was not till 
some time afterward I learned the young 
fellow had been in the naval school at 
Annapolis. Something had happened to 
change his plan of life, and he was now 
studying engineering and architecture in 
Boston. 

When the youth made the short re- 
mark which drew niy attention to him, 
the little deformed gentleman turned 
round and took a long look at him. 

Good for the Boston boy ! he said. 

I am not a Boston boy, said the 
youth, smiling, I am a Marylander. 

I don't care where you come from, 
we'll make a Boston nian of you, 
said the little gentleman. Pray, what 
part of Maryland did you come from, and 
how shall I call you ? 

The poor youth had to speak pretty 
loud, as he was at the right upper corner 
of the table, and Little Boston next the 
lower left-hand corner. His face flushed 
a little, but he answered pleasantly, 
telling who he was, as if the little man's 
infirmity pave him a right to ask any 
questions he wanted to. 

Here is the place for you to sit, said 
the little gentleman, pointing to the va- 
cant chair next his own, at the corner. 

You're go'n' to have a young lady next 
you, if you wait till to-morrow, said 
the landlady to Little Boston. 

He did not reply, but I had a fancy 
that he changed color. It can't be that 
he has susceptibilities with reference to a 
contingent young lady ! It can't be that 
he has had experiences which make him 
sensitive ! Nature could not be quite so 
cruel as to set a heart throbbing in that 
poor little cage of ribs ! There is no use 
in wasting notes of admiration. I must 
ask the landlady about him. 

These are some of the facts she furnish- 
ed. Has not been long with her. Brought 
a sight of furniture, couldn't hardly get 
some of it up-stairs. Hasn't seemed par- 
ticularly attentive to the ladies. The Bom- 
bazine (whom she calls Cousin some- 
thing or other) has tried to enter into 



240 



The Professor at the Breakfast- Table. 



[February, 



conversation with him, but retired with 
the impression that he was indifferent to 
ladies' society. Paid his bill the other day 
without saying a word about it. Paid it 
in gold, had a great heap of twenty-dol- 
lar pieces. Hires her best room. Thinks 
he is a very nice little man, but lives 
dreadful lonely up in his chamber. Wants 
the care of some capable nuss. Never 
pitied anybody more in her life, never 
see a more interestin' person. 

My intention was, when I began 

making these notes, to let them consist 
principally of conversations between my- 
self and the other boarders. So they 
will, very probably ; but my curiosity is 
excited about this little boarder of ours, 
and my reader must not be disappointed, 
if I sometimes interrupt a discussion to 
give an account of whatever fact or traits 
I may discover about him. It so happens 
that his room is next to mine, and I have 
the opportunity of observing many of his 
ways without any active movements of 
curiosity. That his room contains heavy 
furniture, that he is a restless little body 
and is apt to be up late, that he talks to 
himself, and keeps mainly to himself, is 
nearly all I have found out. 

One curious circumstance happened 
lately, which I mention without drawing 
an absolute inference. Being at the stu- 
dio of a sculptor with whom I am ac- 
quainted, the other day, I saw a remark- 
able cast of a left arm. On my asking 
where the model came from, he said it 
was taken direct from the arm of a de- 
formed person, who had employed one of 
the Italian moulders to make the cast. 
It was a curious case, it should seem, of 
one beautiful limb upon a frame other- 
wise singularly imperfect. I have re- 
peatedly noticed this little gentleman's 
use of his left arm. Can he have fur- 
nished the model I saw at the sculptor's ? 

So we are to have a new boarder 

to-morrow. I hope there will be some- 
thing pretty and pleasant about her. A 
woman with a creamy voice, and finished 
in alto rilievo, would be a variety in the 
boarding-house, a little more marrow 
and a little less sinew than our landlady 



and her daughter and the bombazine- 
clad female, all of whom are of the tur- 
key-drumstick style of organization. I 
don't mean that these are our only fe- 
male companions ; but the rest being con- 
versational non-combatants, mostly still, 
sad feeders, who take in their food as lo- 
comotives take in wood and water, and 
then wither away from the table like 
blossoms that never come to fruit, I 
have not yet referred to them as indi- 
viduals. 

I wonder what kind of a young person 
we shall see in that empty chair to-mor- 
row ! 

1 read this song to the boarders 

after breakfast the other morning. It 
was written for our fellows; you know 
who they are, of course. 



THE BOYS. 

HAS there any old fellow got mixed with the 

boys? 
If there lias, take him out, without making a 

noise ! 
Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's 

spite ! 
Old Time is a liar! We're twenty to-night! 

We're twenty ! We're twenty ! Who says we 

are more ? 
He's tipsy, young jackanapes! show him 

the door! 
"Gray temples at twenty?" Yes! white, if 

we please ; 
Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there's 

nothing can freeze ! 

Was it snowing I spoke of ? Excuse the mis- 
take! 

Look close, you will see not a sign of a 
flake ; 

We want some new garlands for those we have 
shed, 

And these are white roses in place of the 
red! 

We've a trick, we young fellows, you may 

have been told, 

Of talking (in public) as if we were old; 
That boy we call " Doctor," and this we call 

" Judge " ; 
It's a neat little fiction, of course it's all 

fudge. 



1859.] 



Widths Shakspeare. 



241 



That fellow's the " Speaker," the one on the But he shouted a song for the brave and the 

right ; free, 

" Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you Just read on his medal, " My country," 

to-night? "ofthee!" 
That's our " Member of Congress," we say 

when we chaff; You hear that boy laughing ? You think he's 

There's the " Reverend " What's his name? all fun, 



don't make me laugh ! But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has 

done.; 

That boy with the grave mathematical look The children laugh loud as they troop to his 

Made believe he had written a wonderful call, 

book, And the poor man that knows him laugh.s 

And the KOYAL ACADEMY thought it was loudest of all ! 

true ! 

So they chose him right in; a good joke it Yes, we're boys, always playing with tongue 

was, too ! or with pen, 

And I sometimes have asked, Shall we ever 

There's a boy, we pretend, with a three- be men? 

decker-brain, Shall we always be youthful and laughing and 

That could harness a team with a logical gay, 

chain; Till the last dear companion drops smiling 

When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled away ? 

fire, 

We called liiin ' The Justice," but now he's Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its 

" The Squire." gray! 

The stars of its Winter, the dews of its May ! 

And there's a nice youngster of excellent And when we have done with our life-lasting 

pith, toys, 

.Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Dear Father, take care of thy children, the 

Smith, Boys ! 



WHITE'S SHAKSPEARE.' 



(SECOND NOTICE.) 



WE doubt if posterity owe a greater 
debt to any two men living in 1623 than 
to the two obscure actors who in that 
year published the first folio edition of 
Shakspeare's plays. But for them, it is 
more than likely that such of his works 
as had remained to that time imprint- 
ed would have been irrecoverably lost) 
and among them were " Julius Caesar," 
"The Tempest," and "Macbeth." But 
are we to believe them when they assert 
that they present to us the plays which 

* 77<e Works of William Shakspeare. Edit- 
ed, etc., by HICHAUD GKANT WHITE. Vols. 
II., III., IV., and V. Boston: Little, Brown. 
& Co. 1858. 



they reprinted from stolen and surrepti- 
tious copies "cured and perfect of their 
limbs," and those which are original in 
their edition " absolute in their numbers 
as he [Shakspeare] conceived them " '.' 
Alas, we have read too many theatric.nl 
announcements, have been taught t<,<> 
often that the value of the promise was 
in an inverse ratio to the generosity of 
the exclamation-marks, too easily to be- 
lieve that ! Nay, we have seen number- 
less processions of healthy kine enter our 
native village unheralded save by the 
lusty shouts of drovers, while a wretched 
calf, cursed by stepdame Nature with 
two heads, was brought to us in a tri- 



242 



White's Shal'speare. 



[February, 



uinphal car, avant-couriered by a band 
of music as abnormal as itself, and an- 
nounced as the greatest wonder of the 
age. If a double allowance of vituline 
brains deserve such honor, there are few 
commentators on Shakspeare that would 
have gone afoot, and the trumpets of 
Messieurs Heminge and Condell call 
up in our minds too many monstrous and 
deformed associations. 

What, then, is the value of the first 
folio as an authority ? We are inclined 
to think that Mr. Collier (for obvious 
reasons) underrates it, and that Mr. 
White sometimes errs in the opposite 
direction. For eighteen of the plays it 
is the only authority we have, and the 
only one also for four others in their 
complete form. It is admitted that in 
several instances Heminge and Condell 
reprinted the earlier quarto impressions 
with a few changes, sometimes for the 
better and sometimes for the worse ; and 
it is most probable that copies of those 
editions (whether surreptitious or not) 
had taken the place of the original 
prompter's books, as being more conve- 
nient and legible. Even in these cases 
it is not safe to conclude that all or even 
any of the variations were made by the 
hand of Shakspeare himself. And where 
the players printed from manuscript, is it 
likely to have been that of the author ? 
The probability is small that a writer so 
busy as Shakspeare must have been dur- 
ing his productive period should have 
copied out their parts for the actors, him- 
self, or that one so indifferent as he seems 
to have been to the mere literary fortunes 
of his works should have given any great 
care to the correction of such copies, if 
made by others. The copies exclusively 
in the hands of Heminge and Condell 
were, it is manifest, in some cases, very 
imperfect, whether we account for the fact 
by the burning of the Globe Theatre or 
by the necessary wear and tear of years, 
and (what is worthy of notice) they are 
plainly more defective in some parts 
than in others. " Measure for Measure " 
is an example of this, and we are not 
satisfied with being told that its rugged- 



ness of verse is intentional, or that its 
obscurity is due to the fact that Shak- 
speare grew more elliptical in his style 
as he grew older. Profounder in thought 
he doubtless became ; though, in a mind 
like his, we believe that this would im- 
ply only a more absolute supremacy in 
expression. But, from whatever original 
we suppose either the quartos or the 
first folio to have been printed, it is mon; 
than questionable whether the proof-sheets 
had the advantage of any revision other 
than that of the printing-office. Steevens 
was of opinion that authors in the time of 
Shakspeare never read their own proof- 
sheets ; and Mr. Spedding, in his recent 
edition of Bacon, comes independently to 
the same conclusion.* We may be very 
sure that Heminge and Condell did not, 
as vicars, take upon themselves a disa- 
greeable task which the author would 
have been too careless to assume. 

Nevertheless, however strong a case 
may be made out against the Folio of 
1623, whatever sins of omission we may 
lay to the charge of Heminge and Con- 
dell, or of commission to that of the print- 
ers, it remains the only text we have 
with any claims whatever to authentic-it)'. 
It should be deferred to as authority in 
all cases where it does not make Shak- 
speare write bad sense, uncouth metre, or 
false grammar, of all which we believe 
him to have been more supremely incapa- 
ble than any other man who ever wrote 
English. Yet we would not speak un- 
kindly even of the blunders of the Folio. 
They have put bread into the mouth of 
many an honest editor, publisher, and 

*Vol. III. p. 348, note. He grounds his 
belief, not on the misprinting of words, but 
oh the misplacing of whole paragraphs. We 
were struck wjth the same thing in the orig- 
inal edition of Chapman's Biran's Conspiracy 
and Tragedy. One of the misprints which 
Mr. Spedding notices affords both a hint and 
a warning to the conjectural emendator. In 
the edition of Tlie Advancement of Learning 
printed in 1605 occurs the word clusmesse. In 
a later edition this was conjecturally changed 
to business ; but the occurrence of vertigine in 
the Latin translation enables Mr. Speddiug to 
print rightly, dizziness. 



1839.] 



White's Shakspeare. 



243 



printer, for the last century and a half; 
and he who loves the comic side of hu- 
man nature will find the serious notes 
of a variorum edition of Shakspeare as 
funny reading as the funny ones are se- 
rious. Scarce a commentator of them 
all, for more than a hundred years, but 
thought, as Alphonso of Castile did of 
Creation, that, if he had only been at 
Shakspeare's elbow, he could have given 
valuable advice ; scarce one who did not 
know off-hand that there was never a 
seaport in Bohemia, as if Shakspeare's 
world were one which Mercator could 
have projected ; scarce one but was sat- 
isfied that his ten finger-tips were a suffi- 
cient key to those astronomic wonders of 
poise and counterpoise, of planetary law 
and cometary seeming-exception, in his 
metres ; scarce one but thought he could 
gauge like an ale-firkin that intuition 
whose edging shallows may have been 
sounded, but whose abysses, stretching 
down amid the sunless roots of Being 
and Consciousness, mock the plummet; 
scarce one but could speak with conde- 
scending approval of that prodigious in- 
telligence so utterly without congener 
that our baffled language must coin au 
adjective to qualify it, and none is so 
audacious as to say Shakspearian of any 
other. And yet, in the midst of our im- 
patience, we cannot help thinking also of 
how much healthy mental activity this 
one man has been the occasion, how 
much good he has indirectly done to so- 
ciety by withdrawing men to investiga- 
tions and habits of thought that, secluded 
them from baser attractions, for how ma- 
ny he has enlarged the circle of study 
and reflection ; since there is nothing in 
history or politics, nothing in art or sci- 
ence, nothing in physics or metaphysics, 
that is not sooner or later taxed for his 
illustration. This is partially true of all 
great minds, open and sensitive to truth 
and beauty through any large arc of their 
ciivumference; but it is true in an unex- 
ampled sense of Shakspeare, the vast 
round of whose balanced nature seems 
to have been equatorial, and to have had 
a southward exposure and a summer 



sympathy at every point, so that life, so- 
ciety, statecraft serve us at last but as 
commentaries on him, and whatever we 
have gathered of thought, of knowledge, 
and of experience, confronted with his 
marvellous page, shrinks to a mere foot- 
note, the stepping-stone to some hitherto 
inaccessible verse. We admire in Ho- 
mer the blind placid mirror of the world's 
young manhood, the bard who escapes 
from his misfortune in poems all mem- 
ory, all life and bustle, adventure and 
picture ; we revere in Dante that com- 
pressed force of lifelong passion which 
could make a private experience cosmo- 
politan in its reach and everlasting in its 
significance ; we respect in Goethe the 
Aristotelian poet, wise by weariless ob- 
servation, witty with intention, the stately 
Geheimerrath of a provincial court in the 
empire of Nature. As we study these, 
we seem in our limited way to penetrate 
into their consciousness and to measure 
and master their methods ; but with 
Shakspeare it is just the other way ; the 
more we have familiarized ourselves with 
the operations of our own consciousness, 
the more do we find, in reading him, that 
he has been beforehand with us, and that, 
while we have been vainly endeavoring 
to find the door of his being, he has 
searched every nook and cranny of our 
own. While other poets and dramatists 
embody isolated phases of character and 
work inward from the phenomenon to 
the special law which it illustrates, he 
seems in some strange way unitary with 
human nature itself, and his own soul to 
have been the law- and life-giving power 
of which his creations are only the phe- 
nomena. We justify or criticize the 
characters of other writers by our mem- 
ory and experience, and pronounce them 
natural or unnatural ; but he seems to 
have worked in the very stuff of which 
memory and experience are made, and 
we recognize his truth to Nature by an 
innate and unacquired sympathy, as if he 
alone possessed the secret of the "ideal 
form and universal mould," and embodied 
generic types rather than individuals. 
In this Cervantes alone has approached 






244 



White's Shakspeare. 



[February, 



him ; and Don Quixote and Sancho, like 
the men and women of Shakspeare, are 
the contemporaries of every generation, 
because they are not products of an arti- 
ficial and transitory society, but because 
they are animated by the primeval and 
unchanging forces of that humanity which 
underlies and survives the forever-fickle 
creeds and ceremonials of the parochial 
corners which we who dwell in them 
sublimely call The World. 

But the dropping of our variorum vol- 
ume upon the floor recalls us from our 
reverie, and, as we pick it up, we ask 
ourselves sadly, Is it fitting that we should 
have a Shakspeare according to plodding 
Malone or coarse-minded Steevens, both 
of whom would have had the headache 
all their lives after, could one of the War- 
wickshire plebeian's conceptions have got 
into their brains and stretched them, and 
who would have hidden under their bed- 
clothes in a cold-sweat of terror, could 
they have seen the awful vision of Mac- 
beth as he saw it? No ! and to every oth- 
er commentator who has wantonly tam- 
pered with the text, or obscured it with 
his inky cloud of paraphrase, we feel in- 
clined to apply the quadrisyllable name 
of the brother of Agis, king of Sparta. 
Clearly, we should be grateful to an edi- 
tor who feels it his chief duty to scrape 
away these barnacles from the brave old 
hull, to replace with the original heart- 
of-oak the planks where these small but 
patient terebrators have bored away the 
tough fibre to fill the gap with sawdust ! 

This task Mr. White has undertaken, 
and, after such conscientious examination 
of his work y as the importance of it de- 
mands, after a painful comparison, note 
by note, and reading by reading, of his 
edition with those of Messrs. Knight, Col- 
lier, and Dyce, our opinion of his ability 
and fitness for his task has been height- 
ened and confirmed. Not that we always 
agree with him, not that we do not think 
that in respect of the Folio text he has 
sometimes erred on the side of supersti- 
tious reverence for it, and sometimes in 
too rashly abandoning it, but, making all 
due exceptions, we think that his edition 



is, in the phrase of our New England 
fathers in Israel, for substance, scope, 
and aim, the best hitherto published. The 
chief matter must in all cases be the 
text, and the faults we find in him do 
not, as a general rule, affect that. Some 
of them are faults which his own better 
judgment, we think, will lead him to 
avoid in his forthcoming volumes ; and in 
regard to some, he will probably honestly 
disagree with us as to their being faults 
at all. No conceivable edition of Shak- 
speare would satisfy all tastes; some- 
times we have attached associations to 
received readings which make impartial 
perception impossible ; sometimes we have 
imparted our own meaning to a passage 
by too steady pondering over it, just as 
in twilight an inanimate thing will seem 
to move, if we look at it long, though 
the wavering be truly in our own over- 
strained vision ; sometimes our personal 
temperament Avill insensibly warp our 
judgment ; but Mr. White has gener- 
ally shown so just a discrimination, that 
there are few instances where we dissent, 
and in these a pencil will enable every 
one to edit for himself. Any criticism 
of an edition of Shakspeare must neces- 
sarily concern itself with seemingly in- 
significant matters, often with a comma 
or a syllable, and the danger is always 
of degenerating into a captiousness and 
word-catching unworthy the lover of 
truth for its own sake. We shall en- 
deavor to be minute without being small. 
Mr. White reserves for a first volume 
(not yet published) his notices of Shak- 
speare's life, his remarks upon the text, 
and other general introductory topics. 
In the second volume, he gives us an ex- 
cellent copy of the Droeshout portrait, 
the preliminary matter of the Folio of 
1623, with notices of the writers of com- 
mendatory verses thereto prefixed, and 
of the principal actors who performed 
parts in Shakspeare's plays. We no- 
tice particularly his discussion of the au- 
thorship of the verses signed J. M. S. as 
a good example of the delicacy and 
acuteness of his criticism. Though he 
has the great authority of Coleridge 



1859.] 



Whiles Shakspeare. 



245 



against him, we think that he has con- 
structed a very ingenious, strong, and 
even convincing argument against the 
Milton theory. Each play is preceded 
by an Introduction, remarkably well di- 
gested and condensed, giving an account 
of the text, and of the sources from which 
Sliakspeare helped himself to plots or inci- 
dents. We cannot but commend highly 
the self-restraint which marks these brief 
and pithy prefaces, and the pertinency 
of every sentence to the matter in hand. 
The Germans, (to whom we are undenia- 
bly indebted for the first philosophic ap- 
preciation of the poet,) being debarred 
by their alienage from the tempting par- 
liament of verbal commentary and con- 
flict, have made themselves such ample 
amends by expatiations in the unfenced 
field of {esthetics and of that constructive 
criticism which is too often confined to 
the architecture of Castles in Spain, that 
we feel as if Dogberry had charged us 
in relation to them with that hopeless- 
ly bewildering commission to " compre- 
hend all vagrom men" which we have 
hitherto considered applicable only to 
peripatetic lecturers. Mr. White wise- 
ly and kindly leaves us to Shakspeare 
and our own imaginations, two very 
potent spells to conjure with, and 
seems to be aware of the fact, that, in 
its application to a creative mind like 
that of the great Poet, the science of 
teleology may sometimes find itself as 
much at fault as it so often is in at- 
tempting to fathom the designs of the 
Infinite Creator. Rabelais solves the 
grave problem of the goodliness of Friar 
John's nose by the comprehensive for- 
mula, "Because God willed it so"; and 
it is well for us in most cases to enjoy 
Shakspeare in the same pious way, 
to smell a rose without bothering our- 
selves about its having been made ex- 
pressly to serve the turn of the essence- 
peddlers of Shiraz. We yield the more 
credit to Mr. White's self-denial in this 
respect, because his notes prove him to 
be capable of profound as well as delicate 
and sympathetic exegesis. Shakspeare 
himself has left us a pregnant satire 



on dogmatical and categorical sesthetics 
(which commonly in discussion soon lose 
their ceremonious tails and are reduced 
to the internecine dog and cat of their 
bald first syllables) in the cloud-scene be- 
tween Hamlet and Polonius, suggesting 
exquisitely how futile is any attempt at 
a cast-iron definition of those perpetually 
metamorphic impressions of the beautiful, 
whose source is as much in the man who 
looks as in the thing he sees. And else- 
where more directly, Mr. White must 
allow us the old reading for the sake of 
our illustration, he has told us how 
" Affection, 

Master of passion, sways it to the mood 

Of what it likes or loathes." 

We are glad to see,\ likewise, with 
what becoming indifference the matter 
of Shakspeare's indebtedness to others is 
treated by Mr. White in his Introduc- 
tions. There are many commentators 
who seem to think they have wormed 
themselves into the secret of the Master's 
inspiration when they have discovered 
the sources of his plots. But what he 
took was by right of eminent domain ; 
and was he not to resuscitate a theme and 
make it immortal, because some botcher 
had tried his hand upon it before, and left 
it for stone-dead ? Because he could not 
help throwing sizes, was he to avoid the 
dice which for others would only come 
up ames-ace ? 

Up to the middle of 1854,* there had 
been published in England and on the 
Continent eighty-eight complete editions 
of Shakspeare in English, thirty-two in 
German, six in French, and five, more 
or less complete, in Italian. Beside 
these, his works had been translated into 
Dutch, (1778-82,) into Danish, (1807- 
28,) into Hungarian, (1824,) into Pol- 
ish, (1842,) and into Swedish (1847-51). 
The numerous American editions are 
not reckoned in this statement; and, to 
give an adequate notion of the extent 
of the Shakspeare-literature, we should 
add that the number of separately-printed 

Die Shakspfare-LHeratur bis MlUt 1854. 
Zusammengestellt und hernusgegeben von P. 
H. SILI.IO. Leipzig. 1854. 



246 



White's Sfiakspeare- 



[February, 



comments and other illustrative publica- 
tions already exceeds five hundred. No 
other poet except Dante has received 
such appreciation, and not even he, if we 
consider in Shakspeare's case the greater 
bulk of the works and the difficulty of the 
language. After so many people had 
used their best wit and had their say, 
could there be any unconsidered trifle 
left for a new editor ? Could the sharp- 
est eyes find more needles in this enor- 
mous haystack ? We do not pretend to 
have examined the whole of this polyglot 
library, nay, but for Herr Sillig, we had 
never heard of most of the books in it, 
but Ave are tolerably familiar with the 
more important English editions, and 
with some of the German comments,* 
and we must say that the freshness of 
many of Mr. White's observations struck 
us with very agreeable surprise. We 
are not fond of off-hand opinions on any 
subject, much more on one so multifari- 
ous and complex as this, we are a great 
deal too ready -with them in America, 
and pronounce upon pictures and poems 
with a Uhoyish nonchalance that would 
be amusing, were it not for its ill conse- 
quence to Art, but we love the expres- 
sion of honest praise, of sifted and consid- 
erate judgment, and we think that a labo- 
rious collation justifies us in saying that 
in acute discrimination of {esthetic shades 
of expression, and often of textual nice- 
ties, Mr. White is superior to any previ- 
ous editor. 

In proof of what we have said, we will 
refer to a few of the notes which have 
particularly pleased us, and which show 
originality of view. 

( Tempest, Act ii. Sc. 2. ) 
" 'JVw scrape trenchering, nor wash dish. 1 
"Pryden, Theobald, Dyce, Halliwell, and 
Hudson would have ' trenchering ' a typo- 
graphical error for ' trencher,' which they 
introduce into the text. Surely they must 
all have forgotten that Caliban was drunk, 
and, after singing ' firing ' and ' requiring,' 
would naturally sing ' treuchering.' There is 

* Among which (setting aside a few re- 
marks of Goethe) we are inclined to value as 
highly as anything Tieck's Essay on the Ele- 
ment of (he Wonderful in Shakspeare. 



a drunken swing in the original line which is 
entirely lost in the precise, curtailed rhythm 
of 

l Nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish.' 1 " 

Other editors had retained " trencher- 
ing," but none, that we know, ever gave 
so good a reason for it. Equally good 
is his justification of himself for omitting 
Theobald's interpolation of " Did she 
nod ? " in " Two Gentlemen of Vero- 
na," Act i. Sc. 1 . Other examples may 
be found in the readings, " There is a 
lady of Verona here," (same play, Act 
iii. Sc. 1) ; " Yet reason dares her on" 
(Measure for Measure, Act iv. Sc. 4) ; 
" Hark, how the villain would olose now," 
(same play, Act v. Sc. 1) ; " The forced 
fallacy," (Comedy of Errors, Act ii. Sc. 
1) ; in the note on " Cupid is a good 
hare-finder," (Much Ado, Act i. Sc. 3) ; 
the admirable note on " Examine those 
men," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 1) ; the 
readings, " Out on thee ! Seeming ! " 
(same play, Act iv. Sc. 1) ; " For I have 
only silent been," (ibid.) ; "Goodly Count- 
Confect," and note, (same play, Act iv. 
Sc. 2) ; the note on " I do beseech thee, 
remember thy courtesy," (Love's Labor's 
Lost, Act v. Sc. 1) ; on " Mounsieur 
Cobweb," and "Help Cavalery Cobweb to 
scratch," (Mid. Night's D., Act iv. Sc. 1) ; 
on " Or in the night," etc. (same play, 
Act v. Sc. 1) ; on " Is sum of nothing," 
(Merchant of Venice, Act iii. Sc. 2) ; on 
" Stays me here at home unkept," (^1* 
you like it," Act i. Sc. 1) ; on " Unques- 
tionable spirit," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 
2) ; on "Move the still-piecing air," 
(All's Well, etc., Act ii. Sc. 2) ; and on 
" What is not holy," (same play, Act iv. 
Sc. 2). We have referred to a few only 
out of the many instances that have at- 
tracted our notice, and these chiefly for 
their bearing on what we have said of 
the editor's refinement of appreciation 
and originality of view. The merely il- 
lustrative and explanatory notes are also 
full and judicious, containing all that it 
is important the reader should know, and 
a great deal which it will entertain him 
to learn. In the Introductions to the 
several plays, too, we find many obiter 



1859.] 



White s Shakspeare. 



217 



dicta of Mr. White which are excellent 
in their clearness of critical perception 
and conciseness of phrase. From that 
to the " Comedy of Errors " we quote 
the following sentence : 

" Concerning the place and the period of the 
action of this play, it seems that Shakspeare 
did not trouble himself to form a very accu- 
rate idea. The Ephesus of " The Comedy of 
Errors " is much like the Bohemia of " The 
Winter's Tale," a remote, unknown place, 
yet with a familiar and imposing name, and 
therefore well suited to the purposes of one 
who, as poet and dramatist, cared much for 
men and little for things, and to whose per- 
ception the accidental was entirely eclipsed 
by the essential. Anachronisms are scattered 
through it with a profusion which could on- 
ly be the result of entire indifference, in fact, 
of an absolute want of thought on the sub- 
ject." Vol. III. 189. 

We think this could not be better said, 
if only we might supplant " things " with 
the more precise word " facts" ; for about 
things Shakspeare was never careless. It 
is only that deciduous foliage of facts 
which every generation leaves heaps of 
behind it dry, and dead, that he rustles 
through with eyes so royally unconcern- 
ed. As a good example of Mr. White's 
style, we should be inclined to cite the 
Introduction to " Love's Labor's Lost," 
from which we detach this single crys- 
tal : 

"It is ever the ambitious way of youthful 
genius to aim at novelty of form in its first 
essays, while yet in treatment it falls uncon- 
sciously into a vein of reminiscence; after- 
ward it is apt to return to established forms, 
and to show originality of treatment." 

The temptation which too easily besets 
an editor of Shakspeare is to differ, if 
possible, from everybody who has gone 
before him, though but as between the 
N.E. and N.N.E. points in the circum- 
ference of a hair. We do not find Mr. 
White guilty in this respect for what he 
has done, but sometimes for what he 
has left undone in allowing the Folio text 
to remain. The instance that has sur- 
prised us most is his not admitting (As 
You Like it, Act iv. Sc. 1) the reading, 
""The foolish coroners of that age found 



it was Hero of Sestos," instead of the 
unmeaning one, " chroniclers." He has 
been forced, for the sake of sense, to 
make some changes in the Folio text 
which seeua to us quite as violent, and 
we cannot help thinking that the gain 
in aptness of phrase and coherence of 
meaning would have justified him in 
doing as much here. He admits, in his 
note on the passage, that the change is 
" very plausible " ; but adds, " If we can 
at will reduce a perfectly appropriate and 
uncorrupted word of ten letters to one 
of eight, and strike out such marked let- 
ters as A, /, and e, we may re-write Shak- 
speare at our pleasure." Mr. White has 
already admitted that " chroniclers " is 
not perfectly appropriate in admitting that 
the change is " very plausible " ; and he 
has no right to assume that the word is 
uncorrupted, for that is the very point 
in question. As to the disparity in the 
number of letters, no one familiar with 
misprints will be surprised at it ; and Mr. 
Spedding, in the edition of Bacon al- 
ready referred to, furnishes us with an 
example of blunder* precisely the re- 
verse, in which one word of eight let- 
ters is given for two of ten, (sciences for 
six princes,) the printer in both cases 
having set up his first impression of what 
the word was for the word itself. Had 
this occurred in Shakspeare, instead of 
Bacon, we should have had a series of 
variorum notes like this : 

." That sixpence was the word used by our 
author scarcely admits of doubt. From a 
number of parallel passages we select the 
following: 

' Live on sixpence a day, and earn it.' 
Abernethy. 

' /give thee sixpence? I will see thee and- 
so-forthed first ! ' Canning. 

1 Be shot for sixpence on a battlefield.' TV n- 
nyson. 

' Half a crown, two shillings and sixpence.'' 
Niemamfs Dictionary. 

Moreover, we find our author using precisely 
the same word in the 'Midsummer Night's 
Dream ' : 

* Bacon's Works, by Ellis, Spedding, & 
Heath. Vol. III. p. 303, note. 



248 



White's Shakspeare. 



[February. 



' Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his 
life.'" JONES. 

" Had the passage read ' two princes,' we 
might have thought it genuine; since ' the two 
kings of Brentford' must have been familiar 
to our great poet, and he was also likely to 
have that number deeply impressed on his 
mind by the awful tragedy in the tower, (see 
Richard the Thin/,) where, it is remarkable, 
precisely that number of royal offspring suf- 
fered at the hands of the crook-backed tyrant. 
The citation from Xiemand's Dictionary, by 
the Rev. Mr. Jones, tells as much in favor of 
lico princes as of sixpence ; for how could the 
miseries of a divided empire be more em- 
phatically portrayed than in the striking, 
and, as it seems to me, touching phrase, HALF 
a crown ? Couhl we in any way read ' three 
princes,' we should find strong support in the 
tradition of ' the three kings of Cologne,' and 
in the Arabian story of the ' Three Calenders.' 
The line quoted by Thomson, (Shakspeare, 
by Thomson, Vol. X. p. 701,) 
' Under which King Bezonian, speak or die! ' 
(though we agree with him in preferring his 
pointing to the ordinary and meaningless 
'Under which King, Bezonian,' etc.) 
unhappily can throw no light on the present 
passage till we know how many King Bezoni- 
ans are intended, and who they were. Per- 
haps we should read Bulzonlan, and suppose 
a reference to the Egyptian monarchs whose 
tombs were first explored by the intrepid Bel- 
zoni. The epithet would certainly be ap- 
propriate and in Shakspeare's best manner; 
but among so many monarchs, a choice of 
two, or even three, would be embarrassing 
and invidious." BROWX. 

" As for the ' Three Calenders,' there can 
be no reasonable question that Shakspeare 
was well acquainted with the story; for that 
he had travelled extensively in the Kast I 
have proved in my ' Kssay to show that Sir 
Thomas Roe and William Shakspeare were 
identical ' ;